Visit Genoa: San Lorenzo Cathedral, San Matteo, Church of Gesù

Author: Alaskan Dude

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Genoa Churches, Italy

San Lorenzo Cathedral

The Cathedral of San Lorenzo, reconstructed in Romanesque style during the 12th century, has since the time of the Crusades protected the ashes of Saint John the Baptist (San Giovanni Battista), the patron saint of Genoa.

The black and white edifice sits between two towers, and opening out from it are three richly decorated gothic doors. From the sides of the edifice emerge two stone lions and a statue of San Giovanni.

The Museo del Tesoro is located in the basement of the Cathedral: it holds precious relics whose stories have passed into legend: the Sacro Catino, a relic of the Last Supper, the plate which held the head of the Baptist, the Croce degli Zaccaria, and the magnificent tabernacle containing the ashes of saints.

San Matteo

This 1125 church was the Cappella Gentilizia of the Doria family, located in the center of the Case Doria complex. The exterior is notable for its elegant edifice, crafted in black and white marble. The interior was remodeled in the 1500's and adorned with precious sculptures by Montorsoli. Inside the crypt, visitors can view the tomb of Andrea Doria, sculpted by Montorsoli.

Church of Gesù

This church, finished in 1500 for the Jesuit fathers, is worth a visit for the works of art it contains: incredible sculptures and works in stucco, while standing out among the many paintings are two altar pieces by Rubens and one by Guido Reni.

San Giovanni Pré

San Giovanni Pré is a complex of two churches in Romanesque style, positioned one on top of the other, and founded in 1180 by the Knights of Malta. In ancient times, the building annex served as a hostel for pilgrims heading from Genoa to the Holy Land. It is one of the most striking churches of the city, with its great vaults, black stone walls and wood ceilings. The Romanesque bell tower is one of the few from this period surviving in Genoa.

Church of San Donato

The Chiesa di San Donato, built in the 11th and 12th centuries, is a masterpiece of Genoese Romanesque architecture, with its magnificent rose windows, protira on the façade, and octagonal bell tower. Inside are Roman columns and a gorgeous triptych, The Adoration of the Magi (16th century), by the Flemish painter Joos Veìan Cleeve.

San Pietro in Banchi

This curiously-designed church was built in 1572 as a symbol of thanks for a narrowly-avoided epidemic. Construction took place with a kind of "self-financing". The church, with its single nave and octagonal cupola, is elevated above the piazza below, and overlooks a steep set of stairs. Located on the ground floor are a several shops, whose sales proceeds went to finance construction of the church.


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