Genoa’s Best Art Museums

Small though it may be, this city is packed with beautiful museums—many in ancient buildings, and most with magnificent examples of Renaissance, pre-Renaissance, and even modern schools of art and sculpture. Most are open Tuesday through Saturday, and some have a free day each week.

Via Garibaldi, 11, 16124 Genova GE, Italy
Nestled among the stunning palaces of the UNESCO World Heritage Palazzi Dei Rolli, Palazzo Bianco was built in the late 16th century by the Grimaldi family, one of the 28 ‘albergi’ families that ruled Genoa for centuries. Today, the gorgeous building houses an art museum focusing primarily on Flemish and Italian artists, with a strong emphasis on Genovese artists themselves. But do not miss the opportunity to stroll out into the gardens. They are magnificent anytime of year, but especially beautiful in early spring.
Corso Dogali, 18, 16136 Genova GE, Italy
Built on the foundations of a 16th century fortification, the Museo delle Culture del Mondo is housed in the 19th century Castello D’Albertis - the private home of the global traveler and collector of antiquities. Veer off the standard art/church museum trail, and up the massive staircase to the Castello, to see a beautifully preserved piece of Genovese history (and some super fascinating collections of global interest). While the walk is quite the hike, the view from the top floor library of the museum is stunning.
Via Jacopo Ruffini, 3, 16128 Genova GE, Italy
As most of the museums in Genoa focus on art of the Middle Ages and/or Renaissance, it is nice every now and then to find options that feel slightly more ‘modern’. Head to the Villa Croce (just a 15 minute walk from the old town) for the interesting juxtaposition of contemporary art installations in a very historical building. If you come on a Sunday, the visit is free - and you can also see all the dogs of Genoa enjoying a morning outing in the park that surrounds the Villa. Don’t miss the upstairs gallery space - the exhibit by Jackie Saccoccio is breathtaking.
Piazza di Sarzano, 35/R, 16128 Genova GE, Italy
Through the end of June, the Museo di Sant’Agostino hosts a fascinating exhibit on the Machines of Leonardo DaVinci - including his bicycle, the air screw, and a massive interpretation of one of his earliest gliders. Housing in a converted monastery, the building itself is also a lovely space to visit the 16th and 17th century paintings and sculptures on permanent display.
1 Piazza di Pellicceria
Tucked deep in the heart of the ancient city, this is an easy Palazzo to miss—but don’t miss it. My favorite of the Genovese museums, five floors of this massive palace are dedicated to the history and splendor of Genoa—the first three being the restored palace of the Spinola family, and the top two serving as the National Gallery. Explore beautiful frescoes, ceramics from the 1700s, actual clothing from the 15th century, and a massive original Rubens, among the many other varied treasures.
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