Plenary Session Venue


University Palace Aula Magna Storica

Via Balbi 5

The palace was built around 1634 and 1636 as a Jesuit’s college, designed by Bartolomeo Bianco. It is one of the brightest example of Genoese baroque and it became the University seat in 1775. The palace lays its foundations on a steep hill which strongly affected its design and construction; in particular, this fact gave birth to peculiar spatial solutions. The large courtyard designed at the end of the 18th century as a sequence of terraces serves this purpose still toady. The palace harbors various rooms artworks of remarkable historical interest. The monumental atrium is flanked by two gigantic marble lions sculpted by Domenico Parodi at the beginning of the 18th century. The “Cabella” room and the university chapel still show their original decorations.

The Conference Plenary Lecture will take place in the Historical Auditorium (Aula Magna Storica) located at the first floor of the palace overlooking Via Balbi street. This place was originally intended to practice spiritual exercises. The entire surface of the room walls and vault was decorated between 1683 and 1684 by Giovanni Andrea Carlone, already famous for his paintings in the Gesù Church in Rome. The wall decorations are perfectly conserved; however, the vault was totally shattered by the Piedmontese army bombing aiming at crushing the Genoa uprising in 1849 and, for this reason, the vault was re-painted to replace Carlone artwork by the Italian artist Francesco Menzio.

Villa lo Zerbino | Gala Dinner


Villa Balbi Durazzo Gropallo allo Zerbino, known more familiarly as Villa lo Zerbino, is a perfectly preserved 16th century stately home in the centre of Genoa, surrounded by large gardens with a view of the sea and overlooking the city. It was constructed from 1599 to 1603 as a suburban villa for the Genoese noblemen Stefano Balbi, ambassador to Milan, and Giovanni Battista Balbi. The name Zerbino is derived from the dialectical word “zerbo”, meaning “uncultivated” since at the time when the villa was built, the surrounding area was still outside Genoa city walls and uncultivated. In the 18th century the Villa passed to Marcello III Durazzo, and following to the Gropallo family.


The architecture of the villa follows the traditional tri-partition of the façade, common in Genoa at the time under the influence of Galeazzo Alessi. Also the internal distribution is a typical one, centred around the main rooms.
Throughout the centuries this ancient dwelling belonged to some of the most prominent Genoese aristocrat families. The historic villa boasts many superbly preserved frescos and neoclassic decorations from the 17th century: 10 elegant and luxuriously painted halls by a variety of esteemed artists such as Domenico Piola and Gregorio De Ferrari, the latter credited with the most notable fresco in the central room of the ‘piano nobile’ (noble floor), featuring Time and the Seasons.
The ‘piano nobile’ (noble floor) allows the villa guests to admire the city of Genoa from the balcony that runs along the whole façade. On the ground floor, renovated in the neoclassical style 18th century by Tagliafichi, there is a large room opened to the garden and decorated by Giovanni Barabino and Michele Canzio.


The garden was remodelled at the beginning of the 19th century by Tagliafichi with terraces, staircases, a nymphaeum and a romantic grotto. The nobleman Ippolito Durazzo, retired to private life after the fall of the Republic of Genoa in 1815, dedicated himself to the development of a botanical garden still present in the garden.
With Genoa at your feet and downtown a few steps away, in an evocative private park of almost 30.000 square meters. The hustle of the city is only a memory whilst in the garden of Villa Lo Zerbino the quietness makes it the perfect location to host a cocktail party or seated dinner. In daylight the Villa is reflected in the central pool of the park, while at night it is the latter to stand out: with the addition of light play, choreographed water features or fireworks, the surroundings are even more sensational.

Palazzo della Meridiana | Welcome Cocktail


A surprisingly elegant building in which different architectures and styles coexist, frescos and pictorial decorations of great value, a delightful outdoor area and a central position in the most visited part of the old city of Genoa, at the end of via Garibaldi.

Built in 1536 for Gerolamo Grimaldi Oliva, a banker and trader with financial interests in Portugal and Spain, Palazzo Grimaldi della Meridiana is one of the early and most significant examples of the architectural renovation that took place in Genoa during the mid-16th century. This stately home was originally constructed outside the city, on a plot of land at the foot of the Castelletto hill, at a time when neither the Strada Nuova (“New Street”) nor its beautiful buildings existed.

Gerolamo Grimaldi left “in fideicommissum” the palace to his only son, Battista, who was responsible for the completion of the building’s internal (1565-1566) with the works of Bergamasco, Luca Cambiaso (“Ulysses slaying the Suitors”, “Episodes of the Odyssey”, “Satyr mocked by Love”), Perolli and Lazzaro Calvi.

The Palace owes its name to the sun-dial (meridiana, in Italian) drawn on its 18th-century south-facing façade. With the opening of Strada Nuovissima, literally “Very New Street”, now Via Cairoli, access to the building was modified and a new entrance was created following the confiscation and clearing of the south garden.

Nowadays, following lengthy and careful restoration work, Palazzo della Meridiana is used for exhibitions, meetings and events. Today’s Sala del Colonnato, the covered hallway with its early 20th-century Art Nouveau skylight by Gino Coppedè is quite remarkable, as are the Grand Hall with frescos by Luca Cambiaso, the halls decorated by Lazzaro Calvi and the north garden and orchard.

During World War I and II the building was adapted to a military Hospital. Then, from the ’50s until the 2004, the building hosted civic public offices.

In 2004 the palace was bought by a private corporation which independently funded the integral and authentic conservation works of the building and reopened these spectacular spaces with a brand new modern logic, which combines the museum, its use for events and receptions and its residential feature. The first re-opening was in 2010.

Palazzo della Meridiana is one of the “Palazzi dei Rolli”, a system of 42 Genoese buildings that in 2006 became a Unesco World Heritage Site.