It’s hard to remember a more elegant, refined and fashionable period than the fin de siècle: art nouveau came to Genoa on the wave of enthusiasm with which the British aristocracy and upper classes discovered the Ligurian coast. Those were the years in which the Bristol Palace was opened – in 1905 to be precise. This art-nouveau jewel was immediately considered one of the most prestigious hotels in Genoa. Today we are going to discover the many stylistic details to be found inside the building, immersing ourselves in the atmosphere of the time.
Between the 19th century and the 20th, a permanent style revolution
Partly thanks to constant refurbishment, the building continues to enchant guests with the refined elegance of its décor
, starting from the lovely revolving glass entrance door which welcomes all the hotel’s guests. After taking a few photographs, it’s on to the monumental art-nouveau marble staircase
, with its dizzying flooring perspectives. Inside the Sala Paganini the original old parquet has been completely restored, while at the Ristorante “Giotto”, one of the most fascinating corners of the hotel, one lunches and dines surrounded by the elegant fin-de-siècle stucco-work and frescoes
of the walls and vault.
Art nouveau isn’t the only style on show. It is also possible to admire precious, perfectly conserved 19th-century
objets d’art and furnishing accessories, including sumptuous drawing rooms decorated in the Napoleon III
, or Second Empire, style. Influenced by eclecticism and more graceful than the austere Empire style, they blend in well with the sinuous lines of the art-nouveau style
which evoke natural forms.
A second life for the elegant Sala Michelangelo
Something which it’s impossible not to notice walking into the hotel is the central chandelier in the Sala Michelangelo
, which stands out for its size and ethereal beauty. The room also holds other surprises in store. In the old days it was the reading room
, a silent space where guests would stay to read books or meditate, almost a counterpoise to the buzzing ballroom, once the scene of memorable society parties. All this history is documented in the early 19th-century photographs in the Guide Grand Bristol Hôtel de Gênes, a precious volume from the French Guides Illustrés Reynaud library, published between 1897 and 1906.
Perfectly preserved from that era are the large mirror and the wall lamps, elements of continuity with the general style of the hotel.
Today this space is one of the Bristol Palace meeting rooms
, a perfect venue not only for business meetings but also for receptions, weddings, and lunches and dinners that continues to conserve its past splendour. The room has now been refurbished and fitted with next generation access points and wi-fi connections.