Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) is a historical palace in Genoa, the residence of the Doge since 1339 and, today, the main cultural center of the city, which offers exhibitions, conferences, festivals, shows and all sort of educational activities.
After the Battle of Meloria against the Republic of Pisa and the Battle of Curzola against Venice, both fought at the end of the 13th century, Genoa became the superpower of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the economic leader of the region. Therefore, during those times, the city felt the need for a sumptuous representative palace and, in 1298, the building of the Doge’s Palace begun.
Palazzo Ducale was built around the palace of Alberto Fieschi, with its Torre del Popolo (Tower of the People), which forms the original core of the complex.
The Tower became one of the symbols of political power of Genoa, and the tolls of its bell announced the most solemn and tragic moments of the city. Starting with the 14th century, the Tower of the People became a dungeon for political prisoners, conspirators and anarchists, and remained a prison until the 20th century.
The palace was named Ducale in 1339, when it became the seat of the first Genoese Doge, Simon Boccanegra. Between the 14th and the 15th century, the palace was enlarged with new buildings, and Piazza Matteotti was almost completely enclosed.
In the 16th century, the palace was renovated in Renaissance style by the architect Andrea Ceresola, called Il Vannone. He built a grand entrance hall flanked by two porticoed courtyards, a large stairway that leads to two logge on the piano nobile. Here, we can find the famous Doge’s Chapel, frescoed by Giovanni Battista Carlone in the 17th century, to commemorate personalities such as Guglielmo Embriaco and Cristoforo Colombo.
In 1777, a fire partially destroyed the building, and the palace was rebuilt in Neoclassical style by the Swiss architect Simone Cantoni.
During the 19th and the 20th century, other renovations were made. In 1992, after a complex restoration, the palace was reopened to the public.
HOW TO GET THERE
Palazzo Ducale is located in the historical center of Genoa, in Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, adjacent to Piazza De Ferrari, where you can find the closest Metro and bus station, De Ferrari. By bus, you can reach the palace with one of the Lines 18, 20, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 606, 607, 618, 635, 640 and 641.