Grotte del Lago Grande

Grotte degli Inferi

Useful Information

Location: Via Ignazio Pallavicini, 13, 16155 Genova GE.
A10 exit Genoa-Pegli.
(44.425837, 8.817248)
Open: MAR to Tue-Fri 9:30-18, Sat, Sun, Hol 10-18.
Fee: Mon-Fri: Adults EUR 11, Children (13-18) EUR 9, Children (6-12) EUR 6, Seniors (65+) EUR 9, Disabled EUR 9, Residents EUR 9, Families (2+1) EUR 26.
Sat, Sun, Hol: Adults EUR 13, Children (13-18) EUR 11, Children (6-12) EUR 7, Seniors (65+) EUR 11, Disabled EUR 11, Residents EUR 11, Families (2+1) EUR 32.
Classification: SubterraneaSubterranea Museum
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: AR=8 ha.
Guided tours: self guided, D=1 h, L=2.5 km, audioguides.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Villa Durazzo Pallavicini, Via Ignazio Pallavicini, 13, 16155 Genoa, Tel: +39-010-8531544, Cell: +39-393-8830842. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


17th century Clelia Durazzo Grimaldi establishes the Giardino botanico.
1840 beginning of park creation.
23-SEP-1846 park officially inaugurated.
1928 sold to the Municipality of Genoa by Princess Matilde Giustiniani.
2017 proclaimed the most beautiful park in Italy.
1972 threatened by the construction of the freeway.
1992 renovation of the grottoes.
2016 most parts of the park reopened.
05-MAR-2021 caves reopened to the public.


The Grotte del Lago Grande (Great Lake Caves) is a grotto, which resembles a cave. We explain this on the respective pages in detail, in short this means there is an artificial grotto, a typical element of 19th century garden architecture, which was created to look like a natural cave. For this reason stalactites and stalagmites from numerous caves around Genoa were collected and then placed in the grotto. The result is a chamber which is massively decorated with speleothems and a lake, on which the rich idlers went on leisurely underground boat trips.

This not-cave is located in an 8 ha park located at the hillside north of the Genua harbour. There are a Palazzo Durazzo Pallavicini in the center of the city, and a Villa Durazzo Pallavicini in the westen part of the city, also in the middle of the city, which is long and narrow, bordered by the mountains in the north and the mediterranean Sea in the south. This villa also has a park, which is, due to the limited space, 500 m to the north, between the motorway, some high rise buildings and teh cemetery. Nevertheless, there are 8 ha of lakes, trees, flowers and trails, and the Museum of Ligurian Archaeology. And one grotto.

The park was built at the behest of the Marquis Ignazio Alessandro Pallavicini, who entrusted the design and complete construction to Michele Canzio. He was the set designer of the Teatro Carlo Felice as well as master at the Ligustica Academy of Fine Arts. And it seems he took the melodramatic scenographic structure a little too serious, and composed the garden like an opera, as a scenographic-theatrical itinerary in 3 acts:

PROLOGO & ANTEFATTO Il Viale Gotico e Il Viale Classico PROLOGUE & PREFACT The Gothic Avenue and The Classical Avenue
1° ATTO Il Ritorno Alla Natura 1st ACT The Return to Nature
PRIMA SCENA il Romitaggio FIRST SCENE the Hermitage
SECONDA SCENA il Parco dei Divertimenti SECOND SCENE the Amusement Park
TERZA SCENA il Lago Vecchio THIRD SCENE the Old Lake
QUARTA SCENA la Sorgente FOURTH SCENE the Source
2° ATTO Il Recupero Della Storia 2nd ACT The Recovery of History
PRIMA SCENA la Cappelletta di Maria FIRST SCENE the Chapel of Mary
SECONDA SCENA la Capanna Svizzera SECOND SCENE the Swiss Hut
TERZA SCENA il Castello del Capitano THIRD SCENE the Captain's Castle
QUARTA SCENA il Mausoleo del Capitano FOURTH SCENE the Captain's Mausoleum
3° ATTO La Catarsi 3rd ACT The Catharsis
PRIMA SCENA le Grotte/inferno dantesco FIRST SCENE the Grottoes/Dante's Inferno
SECONDA SCENA il Lago Grande SECOND SCENE the Great Lake
TERZA SCENA i Giardini di Flora THIRD SCENE the Gardens of Flora
QUARTA SCENA la Rimembranza FOURTH SCENE Remembrance
ESODO i giochi d’acqua EXODUS the water games

As you can see the grottos are 3rd Act, first scene. To see the whole opera you have to walk 2.5 km on winding trails through the garden. With enough time to enjoy each stop this will take at least an hour. And there is a second level of symbolic and esoteric-Masonic meanings with which the Park was conceived and created. There is a special guided tour by the director, architect Silvana Ghigino, twice a month for this. The park is also home to one of Italy's oldest collections of camellias. There are cork oaks, camphor laurels, araucaria, lebanon cedars and many types of palm trees.

There are several obstacles for a visit of the grottoes. The first is, that they were closed for 25 years for renovation and security measures. They are now reopened, but only with limits. Also, the caves are only open on weekends, which is the official explanation why the fee is higher on weekends. Also, we recommend not to bring any lamp. The caves are intended to be visited without lamps, for this reason they have opening which allow the right amount of daylight to enter. The idea is to wait until your eyes have adapted and then enjoy the mysterious atmosphere.

The entrance to Villa Durazzo Pallavicini is actually located in the middle of the city, at Via Ignazio Pallavicini, 13, 16155 Genova GE. From here a road goes straight to the north for 500 m to the park, which is private and fenced off. That's definitely exceptional, a private road across a major city. This road is straight and level, ascending continually to the villa, where the Museo di Archeologia (Museum of Archeology) is located. To do this they had to build a bridge, which crosses the railroad tracks and two roads.