Maybe you’ve heard about Rolli days. It’s a weekend when Palaces open their door to visitors for free. It’ planned twice a year and it’s amazing!
The word “Rolli” comes from roll, a document written by the Republic Senate of Genoa.
In the XVI century Italy as the State we know now didn’t exist yet. Genoa was a Republic born and grown fast around its harbour. In 1576 a lot of eminent visitors were interested in Genoa, especially for money and business. But the Republic of Genoa did not have an official location, furthermore hotels weren’t good enough to host rich guests coming from all over the world. For this reason the Senate prepared the first Roll, a list of private houses, palaces and mansions that had to host those eminent and rich hosts. The Senate wrote five Rollis in total: the first one was in 1576 and has a list of 52 houses, then in 1588 with 111 houses listed, followed by 120 houses in 1599, 88 houses in 1614 and the last 96 houses in 1664.
All the properties listed in the rolls belonged to the Genoese high society and were chosen for their luxurious style. Certainly houses were sorted by levels: the “lower” level for ambassadors, second level for big land owners, the highest level for Popes, Cardinals, Princes.
As a result genoese Senate created a big court extended to all the city of Genoa.
Lots of property owners (especially merchants and bankers) were happy to increase the precious finishing of their properties and to host such important business man hoping to impress them and, doing so, increasing the numbers of clients. But some others weren’t happy at all. Genoese people has always been conservative, introverted and stingy ;-P
One of the guest of those years was Pieter Paul Rubens, the successful Flemish painter who published a book “Palazzi di Genova”, entirely dedicated to the treasures of genoese properties.
Rolli as UNESCO World Heritage
Finally in 2006 the Palazzi dei Rolli have been recognised as UNESCO World Heritage.
Today these houses are used in many different ways, some of them are Museums, some others banks, Council and other Institutions offices, cultural association or private flats but, big but…….. suspense…
During only two weekends of the year almost all of them open their doors to visitors FOR FREE!!! This event is called the ROLLI DAYS and you cannot miss it!
Don’t forget that some of the Rolli are stable museums you can visit all year! (with entry fee):
- Palazzo Reale, via Balbi 10
- Palazzo Bianco, via Garibaldi 11
- Palazzo Rosso, via Garibaldi 18
- Palazzo Tursi, via Garibaldi 9
- Palazzo Spinola, piazza di Pellicceria 1
Rolli days is one of the most awaited artistic events in Italy, you have the chance to come back to XVI century and be astonished in front of golden baroque interiors, ancient paintings, ceiling frescoes, renaissance and baroque Italian art.
In 2018 28 of these palaces plus other 10 extraordinary locations were open to be visited for the joy of the art lovers.
In 2020/2021 Rolli Days became an online event because of the pandemic but hopefully this year a lot of location will be ready to be visited again (with reservation).
Save the date
Next Rolli days will be 13-15 of May 2022. Waiting for them enjoy this amazing video!