Entry criteria

The UNESCO Site "Genoa, le Strade Nuove e il sistema dei Palazzi dei Rolli" extends over sections of the historic centre of Genoa, one of the largest in Europe, and represents the first European example of an urban development project with a unitary structure, planned by a public authority and associated with a peculiar system of public accommodation in private residences.

The Site includes a set of Renaissance and Baroque palaces along the so-called "Strade Nuove", which represent a hinge between the medieval streets to the south and the contemporary traffic structures to the north. The Strade Nuove and the system of Palazzi dei Rolli in Genoa, dating back to the period between the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century, represent an innovative urban planning intervention associated with a particular system of "public accommodation", based on the legislation of the time. The Palazzi dei Rolli were built as residences for the richest and most powerful aristocratic families of the Republic of Genoa, then at the height of its maritime and financial power (ICOMOS Evaluation n. 1211, 2006, p. 106) and were classified, starting from a decree of the Senate in 1576, according to the value of the land and the quality of the building in order to be registered in lists or registers, called 'rolli', for public accommodation. The palaces were divided into three categories, or 'bussoli', according to their level of architectural merit and luxury; each category corresponded to a different degree of dignity of the guests - ambassadors, dignitaries, sovereign princes, popes and emperors.

The palaces, generally three or four storeys high, are characterised by spectacular staircases, courtyards and loggias overlooking gardens, built on different levels in a relatively small space. The palaces offer an extraordinary variety of different solutions and achieve universal value by adapting to the particular characteristics of the Site and the needs of a specific social and economic organisation.

The Site "Genoa, le Strade Nuove e il sistema dei Palazzi dei Rolli" was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2006. There are 42 Palazzi dei Rolli and the streets with the highest concentration of noble residences are Via Garibaldi, Via Balbi, Via Lomellini and Salita Santa Caterina.

Many of the buildings have retained their original structure almost intact and are partly open to visitors as they house public institutions and museums. These include those belonging to the Strada Nuova Museum system - Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Tursi - Palazzo Spinola di Pellicceria, home of the National Gallery of Palazzo Spinola, and Palazzo Reale.

The criteria based on which the Site was inscribed in the list are as follows:

(ii) To exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design: the ensemble of the Strade Nuove and the related Palazzi exhibit an important interchange of values on the development of architecture and town planning in the 16th and 17th centuries. They were publicised through the architectural treatises of the time, making the Strade Nuove and the late-Renaissance Palazzi of Genoa a significant landmark in the development of Mannerist and Baroque architecture in Europe.

(iv) To be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates one or more significant stages in human history: the Strade Nuove in Genoa are an outstanding example of an urban ensemble consisting of aristocratic residences of high architectural value, which illustrate the economy and politics of the mercantile city of Genoa at the height of its power in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1576, the Republic of Genoa established a legally based list of Rolli recognizing the most outstanding buildings for the official lodging of distinguished guests.

Below you can view the official application submitted in 2006.

Volume 1
Volume 2