Bristol Palace, a doorway to the heart of Genoa | Hotel Bristol Palace - 5 stars Hotel


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Bristol Palace, a doorway to the heart of Genoa

Bristol Palace, a doorway to the heart of Genoa


Fri, 05/07/2021 - 09:00

Piazza De Ferrari

Ever since the Bristol Palace first opened in 1905, the story of the hotel has interwoven with that of Genoa itself. This architectural gem – a member of the Locali storici d’Italia (Historical Places of Italy) – is so closely linked to the local area and its culture that it has been included among the buildings that can be visited during the so-called “Giornate FAI” (Italian Enviroment Fund Open Days). One of its strong points is its location in the heart of the old centre, which makes it a perfect base for walking tours. Stretching out beyond the hotel’s doors, in fact, is one of the most beautiful, dynamic cities in all Italy.  

Patrician palazzi, witnesses of history 

With its “wonderful, crooked, twisting, climbing, soaring, burrowing … alleys,” as Henry James described them in his collection of travel writing Italian Hours, Genoa is definitely a city worth exploring. Leaving the hotel’s revolving door and heading right, you come almost immediately into Piazza De Ferrari and its famous fountain, a favourite meeting point for locals. Looking onto the piazza, Palazzo Ducale is one of the symbols of the city. Built in the 13th century following the Genoa’s naval victories over Venice and Pisa, it originally served as the residence of the Doges (whose apartments are on the first floor). Following painstaking restoration work in 1992, the building is now an important cultural centre and a venue for exhibitions and events. Just a short walk away are the Palazzi dei Rolli, a group of late-Renaissance and baroque patrician palaces, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are 42 of them in all, many with spectacular open staircases, courtyards and loggias overlooking gardens. It was here that at the time of the Republic of Genoa, the city’s nobles hosted distinguished personages on their state visits. 

The Port of Genoa

Not to be missed, the Teatro Carlo Felice and the Porto Antico

Just off Piazza De Ferrari we also find the Teatro Carlo Felice, one of the most important theatres in Italy, where the city’s opera, ballet and symphonic music season are held, as well as plays and other events. The artists who perform at the Carlo Felice, famous for its acoustics and modern technology, often stay at the Bristol: Uto Ughi and Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich, for example, who played in the inaugural concert of the international travelling festival for the fifth centenary of the discovery of America in 1991. Near the heart of the old city centre is the Porto Antico, or old port, an agora unique the world over thanks to extensive renovation work overseen by local architect Renzo Piano. This isn’t only a place where ships dock: here it’s also possible to visit the Aquarium, one of the most important in Europe and home to 600 different species, and the Galata Museo del Mare, dedicated to Genoa’s maritime history. You can also take the lift to the top of the Bigo, a mega-installation that offers a stunning view of the whole city – including the Lanterna, the lighthouse that has protected the port since 1128 – from an unusual perspective. After which you can take time out to relax over an aperitif, say, or an ice cream, a focaccia or a pànera, a coffee-flavoured semifreddo: in Genoa even the street foods are works of art.
Back at the Bristol, you can bring your exciting day of discovery to an end with dinner at the Ristorante Giotto, where you can choose from a menu of the typical recipes of Liguria in general and of Genoa in particular.


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