Many former private homes in Italy are now museums, bequeathed to cities when the families could no longer afford their upkeep. Genoa has several such museums, including the Palazzo Bianco in the historic center.
The Palazzo Bianco – Italian for “white house” - was a palace built in the 1530s for the Grimaldi family. In the mid-1600s, the Grimaldis sold it to the De Franchi family, who owned it until the early 1700s. The palace then became the possession of the Brignole-Sale family, who also owned the Palazzo Rosso nearby on Via Garibaldi. In the 1880s, the Palazzo Bianco was given to the city of Genoa to be used as a museum.
Today, the palace is known as the Museo di Palazzo Bianco, and the collection includes paintings from all over Europe dating from the 12th century to the 17th century. Artists represented in the galleries include Caravaggio, Veronese, Filippino Lippi, Rubens, Van Dyck, and many others. There's also an extensive collection of paintings from Genoese painters from the 16th century to the 18th century.