Genoa, the Rolli Palaces | Hotel Bristol Palace - 5 stars Hotel


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Genoa, the Rolli Palaces

Detail of a historic building in Genoa

Genoa has welcomed every type of traveller: sovereigns, princes, artists, cardinals and popes. All these people have been charmed by the warmth of the city, reporting Genoa’s magnificence to the whole world.
Traditionally, the best and most elegantly furnished buildings were assigned to international celebrities: these palaces were called 'I Rolli', aristocratic residences that have been nominated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.

The meaning of the name

Between the Renaissance and the Baroque period, Genoa’s nobility had finely decorated palaces built along the 'Strada Nuova' (today's Via Garibaldi), while in the meantime renovating the old residences that already existed in the historic centre. This work of embellishment might seem to be a pure exercise in style, but it concealed within it a much more concrete and profound intention: the Republic of Genoa wanted to build a list of luxury accommodations which could host, in turn, the best European public figures. A cunning move to expand Genoa's fame everywhere.
In fact, the word "Rolli” is nothing more than the Italian traditional way of calling the "lists" where these historical palaces were catalogued by the Republic of Genoa.

The drawing up of the "Rolli"

Kept in the State Archives of Genoa, the buildings were catalogued according to their beauty and then assigned to visiting travellers according to their importance and social standing. This stratagem created a virtuous circuit for the whole city of Genoa:
  • the wealthy noble families had a lot of interest in building new houses or renovating their residences in the best possible way in order to be able to subsequently host the most important personalities, whether for personal lustre or for business purposes.
  • wealthy travellers had the opportunity to stay in the best palaces in the city.
  • the city of Genoa saw its economy grow and prosper thanks to this circuit of "interested hospitality".


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