Rolli Days - May 2019
This year spring in Genoa is lit by the splendour of the 2019 Rolli Days: the doors of the extraordinary palaces of the Genoese aristocracy reopen, revealing what Rubens called "an example of beauty and magnificence for the whole of Europe", which, since 2006, have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
What are the “Palazzi dei Rolli”:
In 1576, the Senate of the Republic of Genoa created lists, the "Rolls of public housing", which included the main noble palaces of the city. In the previous years the families of the Genoese aristocracy had renovated many of the old buildings in the historic center; while the most important families had built sumptuous new residences in Strada Nuova (now Via Garibaldi).
Given that it was not possible to receive state guests at Palazzo Ducale, the owners of the palaces listed in the rolls were given the “honour” to receive diplomats, dignitaries and aristocratic visitors to the Republic in their dwellings, including all the associated expenses.
The model of public hospitality created in Genoa was unique, and thanks to the City’s international guests, such as the famous Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, Genoa became famous throughout Europe for the quality of its architecture and for the refined and high level lifestyle.
The Palaces of Genoa UNESCO World Heritage
In 2006, UNESCO included the site "Le Strade Nuove and the Rolli Palaces System" in the list of World Heritage Sites.
The site includes 42 buildings distributed along a circular path that starts from Piazza Corvetto and arrives at Via Balbi, almost touching the sea along Via del Campo and Via San Luca.
The “Rolli” registers of the Palaces destined for public hospitality, were periodically updated. And over time, 163 buildings were included at least once; the most extensive list included 114.
The Rolli lists, have come down to us in volumes that collected the Senate acts, as well as in the form of scattered sheets.
Many of the buildings included in the Rolli rise along “Le strade nuove” (the New Streets): the current Via Garibaldi (Strada Nuova or Strada Aurea), Via Cairoli (Strada Nuovissima) and Via Balbi which were created between the 16th and 18th centuries, as a result of urban planning by both the Republic (Via Garibaldi, via Cairoli) and private individuals (Via Balbi). The nine “new” roads were designed to give the city wider streets, but they were above all prestigious avenues which demonstrated to Europe the power, wealth and culture of the Genoese.
For further information: www.visitgenoa.it/it/strada%20nuova – www.rolliestradenuove.it
What are the Rolli Days:
Twice a year, Genoa celebrates its World Heritage palaces, organizing days on which many Genoese aristocratic residences open their doors to the public.
Visitors can discover the fascinating architecture, splendid frescoes, important paintings, "fashionable" decorations, and be transported to the glories of the Genoese "Century of Gold", experiencing the emotion of a journey through time and beauty.
Every year the list of Palaces which are open changes, the visits are accompanied by a rich program of initiatives and events: each edition has new stories to tell and new experiences to propose to those who want to discover the wonders of Genoa.
The Rolli Days - May 2019
In the edition from 3rd to 5th May 2019, we will trace some of the stories of Genoa by crossing the threshold of 28 splendid Palaces located throughout the entire historic center; but also visiting some of the magnificent "country" villas, places of beauty and delight that enrich the area immediately outside the center; and illustrate how the Genoese aristocrats embellished important religious centers, commissioning works of art of great quality for chapels, altars & family tombs.
Our journey will show the efforts of the Genoese aristocracy throughout the area, efforts which shaped the city: we will find beauty and splendid works of art as we move from the City centre along the coast to Cornigliano; and into the hinterland, along the Val Polcevera, a strategic axis road since Roman times, linking Genoa and Northern Italy and onward with Europe
It will be possible to visit the Abbey “del Boschetto”, where a long and extensive restoration has just been completed.
The Cistercian monastic complex was started in the 14th century, in a strategic position high over the Val Polcevera; and, over the course of the centuries, many Genoese aristocratic families contributed to its decoration, including the Grimaldi, Spinola, Doria and Lercari.
Genoa’s Diocesan Museum conserves a precious “apparato effimero” from this Abbey, it is a temporary decoration which was installed for the Easter ritual of the “Quarant’ore” (forty hours), the work was painted in the sixteenth century on a canvas of “blu di Genova”, the predecessor to, though different from, the material of modern jeans
Visits to the Abbey can be booked to take place on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th
A shuttle service (only way to reach the Abbey) will be available.
For details see at the boxes below.
Friday 3rd May at 9.00pm, the Rolli Days pays homage to the importance of the Val Polcevera in Genoese history and culture with:
LIGURIA IN ART – THE SPECTACLE OF BEAUTY
Chiesa di San Bartolomeo della Certosa - Genova
Pino Petruzzelli, actor & director of the Teatro Nazionale di Genova, reads Eugenio Montale, Renzo Piano, Camillo Sbarbaro, Maurizio Maggiani & Giuseppe Mazzini
Eliano Calamaro, first violin of the Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, plays Nicolò Paganini & Camillo Sivori
Giacomo Montanari, art historian, describes the funeral monuments of Ambrogio & Orazio Di Negro, two men of exceptional worth, whose names are indelibly linked to the history of Genoa.
The Certosa di San Bartolomeo di Rivarolo is a Carthusian monastic complex, built in 1297 and renovated in the sixteenth century; the cloister preserves a magnificent “risseu”, that is a pebble mosaic.
Many of the church’s chapels were acquired and decorated by important city families, who commisioned high profile works of art. For example, at the Certosa two magnificent portals in black stone adorned the Doria chapel and the twin Spinola chapel; dating back to the end of the 15th century they were the work of Ticinese sculptors; removed during the 19th century, they are now part of the heritage of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London
The Certosa will be open on Saturday 4th from 10am to 5pm and Sunday 5th May from 12am to 5.30pm. For details see at the box below.
How to visit the Palazzi dei Rolli open in this edition
As every year, the visit to the buildings open for the Rolli Days will be supported by the presence of young scholars, who will illustrate the stories of art and culture in Genoa that are captured in the frescoes, decorations and extraordinary architectures open to the public. The choice of Palazzo Ducale Foundation for Culture, University of Genoa and the Municipality of Genoa is to enhance the professionalism and skills of young scholars, selected at a national level through a specific call for tenders. Among the more than 1000 curriculum sent by young scholars from all over Italy, a great team of talents has been selected to describe Genoa’s (UNESCO) heritage.
To know the Palazzi dei Rolli at their best, guided tours will also be available, led by certified tourist guides, on specific itineraries that will offer opportunities for further study (see list of Palaces). Visits will be available to book online here
Rolli Days Genoa 2019 is an event promoted and sponsored by the Municipality of Genoa, Palazzo Ducale Foundation for Culture, Genoa Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities - Regional Secretariat of Liguria, Association of the Rolli of the Republic of Genoa; in collaboration with the University of Genoa (School of Humanities, Polytechnic School - Department of Architecture Sciences).
Sponsors of this year’s edition of Rolli Days Genova:
Metinvest Trametal SpA
Radio Montecarlo is Media partner of the city of Genoa