The stately palaces of Genoa
To me the stately palaces of Genoa appeared as a revelation. I’d never expected to find this kind of beauty in a rough seaport, where more than a hundred grand palaces crowd the streets.
One of Liguria’s UNESCO World Heritage sites is Strade Nuove in Genoa. A street lined with more than one hundred late-Renaissance and Baroque mansions that were used as homes for noble families and as state accommodation for visitors of state. The proportions of these Palazzi dei Rolli are gigantic and this combined with the narrow streets and the hard shadows make it virtually impossible for someone with my photographic abilities to capture the beauty of the place. It is gobsmacking.
Even Charles Dickens was impressed, when he moved to Genoa in 1844 and found
‘A bewildering phantasmagoria, with all the inconsistency of a dream, and all the pain and all the pleasure of an extravagant reality!’
And his description is still accurate as the following photos paired with a rather long quote from ‘Pictures from Italy’ show. For more Dickens’ quotes see the post about the Palazzo Te in Mantova or Dickens’ account of the Roman Carnival.
The endless details of these rich Palaces: the walls of some of them, within, alive with masterpieces by Vandyke!
and dreary, dreaming, echoing vaulted chambers: among which the eye wanders again, and again, and again, as every palace is succeeded by another-