Few countries on earth can compare to the cultural and artistic legacy of Italy. If you're a fan of museums, there's just about nowhere you can go in this country where you won't discover cultural gems. That's as true in Genoa as it is anywhere else in the country.
This port city on the Ligurian Sea is home to a number of fascinating museums, each of which is worth your time and attention. Of course, exploring museums and art collections is much easier when you don't have to carry heavy bags around with you, so don't forget to drop yours off at a Bounce luggage storage before you start exploring the best museums in Genoa.
With everything from gorgeous aristocratic palaces to impressive churches to an entertaining natural history museum to explore, Genoa is a dream destination for fans of arts and culture. Here are just a few of the best museums in Genoa that you won't want to miss.
The Palazzo Ducale
The Palazzo Ducale is one of the most important buildings in Genoa. This former ducal palace was once the seat of power for the Doges of Genoa, and it now houses a number of art collections and exhibitions inside. It's definitely worth your time to explore the various galleries and art collections held inside. You'll find works by some of the most important Italian artists, as well as a number of international artists. There's also a section devoted to Genoese maritime history, which is fitting given the city's location on the sea. The former residence of the rulers of Genoa during its days as an independent republic, the Palazzo Ducale is a must-see for anyone interested in the city's history. And with its prime location right in the heart of the city, this is also the place to try some of the best street food in Genoa, so you can nourish your mind and your body in this part of town.
The Museo di San Matteo
The Museo di San Matteo is another must-visit museum in Genoa. It's located in a beautiful 13th-century church, and it contains a number of important works of art, including art painted by Rubens, Raphael, and Caravaggio. The museum also has a significant collection of medieval and Renaissance sculptures. The stunning picture gallery here is unmissable for lovers of art, but even more casual visitors will be impressed by the priceless fine arts on display here.
The Galleria Nazionale di Genova
The Galleria Nazionale di Genova is one of the premier art museums in Italy. It contains an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art from the 13th to the 20th centuries. You'll find works by some of the most important Italian artists, including Botticelli, Caravaggio, and Modigliani. Located in the Spinola Palace, an authentic Genoese noble residence, the National Gallery of Genoa is definitely worth a visit.
The Casa Cristoforo Colombo
The Casa Cristoforo Colombo is a museum dedicated to the life and work of Christopher Columbus. Located in the home where Columbus is thought to have lived during his time in Genoa, the museum contains a number of artifacts and documents related to his life and travels. You'll also find a number of interactive exhibits that help bring Columbus's story to life.
The Palazzo Doria Tursi
The Palazzo Doria Tursi is another beautiful building that houses a number of important museums. The palazzo was built in the 13th century, and it contains a number of works by Italian and international artists. You'll also find a significant collection of furniture, tapestries, and other decorative arts. In addition to the art museums, the Palazzo Doria Tursi is also home to the Genoa History Museum and the Museum of Natural History.
The Museo Civico di Storia Naturale
The Museo Civico di Storia Naturale is a great museum for anyone interested in natural history. It contains a wide variety of exhibits on topics such as geology, botany, and zoology. You'll also find an extensive fossil collection, which includes a number of dinosaurs. This natural history museum is also one of the best things to do in Genoa with kids, so you should definitely check it out if you're traveling with the family.
Galata Museo del Mare
Galata Museo del Mare is a great museum for anyone interested in maritime history. It's located in an old Genoese fort, and it contains a wide variety of exhibits on topics such as shipbuilding, navigation, and maritime commerce. You'll also find a number of interactive exhibits, which make the museum fun for the whole family. This important maritime museum is the largest like it in the Mediterranean and remains a unique museum where you can explore the legacy of Genoa's maritime prowess under the watchful eyes of a portrait of Christopher Columbus painted by Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio.
The Palazzo Rosso
The Palazzo Rosso is one of the most beautiful buildings in Genoa, and it houses an important art collection inside. The palazzo was built in the 17th century, and it contains a number of works by artists like Van Dyck, Rubens, and Tintoretto. The palazzo is definitely worth a visit for its architecture and art alone, but it also has a number of other attractions, including a beautiful garden and a museum devoted to the city's history. It's one of the main features of the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Strada Nuova museums.
The Palazzo Bianco
The Palazzo Bianco is another of the most beautiful buildings in Genoa, and it houses an important art collection inside. The palazzo was built in the 15th century, and it contains a number of works by some of the most important Italian artists, including Rubens, Van Dyck, and Caravaggio. The museum also has an impressive collection of furniture, tapestries, and other decorative arts and is part of the impressive Musei di Strada Nuova.
The Palazzi dei Rolli
The Palazzi dei Rolli is a group of 17th-century palaces that have been turned into museums. Each palace contains a different collection, ranging from art to furniture to musical instruments. The Red Palace and White Palace or Palazzo Bianco are two of the most famous, but all these precious palaces are worth a visit for any lover of history and art. Recognized on the UNESCO World Heritage list, these palaces are a true treasure of the city and one of the top museums in Genoa.
You can purchase a ticket that allows you access to all of the palaces, or you can purchase a ticket for a specific palace. Either way, you're sure to enjoy exploring these beautiful palaces and the vast collection they contain.
The Museo d'Arte Orientale
The Museo d'Arte Orientale or Museum of Oriental Art is a great museum for anyone interested in Asian art. It contains a wide variety of exhibits on topics such as calligraphy, painting, and sculpture. You'll also find a number of interactive exhibits, which make the museum fun for the whole family. This is a great museum for anyone interested in learning more about the art and culture of Asia. It also makes a nice break from the generally Italian and European paintings you'll find in most other Genoa museums.
The Royal Palace Museum
The Royal Palace Museum is located in a beautiful 17th-century palace. It contains a wide variety of exhibits on the history, art, and culture of Genoa. Originally built for the Balbi family, it became the property of the House of Savoy which went on to rule over a unified Italy in the 19th century before the country became the republic it is today. The exhibits in this grand house tell the fascinating stories of these powerful families and will give you an insight into the forces that shaped the city's history through the ages. This is a great museum for anyone interested in learning more about the history and culture of Genoa.
Santa Maria di Castello
Santa Maria di Castello is a beautiful church and religious complex that dates back all the way to the tenth century. Inside, this stunning church contains important artwork spanning centuries, including paintings painted for some of Genoa's noble families in the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. In particular, the area around the high altar is extraordinarily richly decorated, and visiting this church is like getting a crash course in the history of Italian art all in one building. Plus, the church itself offers an atmosphere of calm and serenity in the often busy city, making it a great place to visit if you need a break from exploring all the amazing museums Genoa has to offer.
Villa Croce Museum of Contemporary Art
Genoa's historic art is impressive even by the high standards of an Italian city. But if you'd rather see something a little more modern, check out Villa Croce. This museum is dedicated to contemporary art, and it has a rotating selection of exhibitions that showcase the best in current Italian and international artists. If you're interested in seeing what's new and exciting in the world of art, make sure to add Villa Croce to your list of must-see museums in Genoa.
What are the best free museums in Genoa?
While Genoa has a number of impressive museums that charge an entrance fee, there are also a number of great free museums. The Palazzo Ducale, for example, is a beautiful palace that now houses a number of important art collections and is undoubtedly one of the best free things to do in Genoa. Ordinarily, visiting this staggering palace comes at a price, but on the first Sunday of each month, it's completely free.
Which are the best museums in Downtown Genoa?
There are a number of great museums located in downtown Genoa. The Palazzo Ducale, for example, is a beautiful palace that now houses a number of important art collections. Other great museums in downtown Genoa include the Palazzo Rosso, which is home to countless works of art, and the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, which contains a wide variety of exhibits on natural history.
If you're looking for something a little bit different, make sure to check out the Museo di Palazzo Reale, which is dedicated to the history and culture of Genoa. This is a great museum for anyone interested in learning more about the city's past.
Are there any cheap museums in Genoa?
There are a few museums in Genoa that offer discounted rates for students and seniors. The Palazzo Ducale, for example, offers a reduced rate for students. Plus many of the city's churches offer free admission to their museums, including the Duomo di San Giorgio and Santa Maria di Castello.
You can also save money with a Genoa Museum Card, which gives you free admission to 25 different museums in the city, including the Galata Museo del Mare, the Spinola Palace, and the Christopher Columbus house, plus free bus travel in the city.
Once the capital of a major naval power, Genoa has centuries of rich history to look back on. Plus, many of the aristocratic palaces of the city have been converted into museums holding priceless works of art, making this a city culture lovers can't afford to leave off their itineraries. Step out from Genoa train station, and you'll have a hard time avoiding one stunning art gallery after another.
Exploring museums and galleries is always much easier when you're not carrying more than you need to. That's why you should drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage center before you go exploring. Leave your things behind so you won't get into any trouble with the museum staff, and you'll have a much better time enjoying all the cultural highlights Genoa offers.