Genoa Cathedral

Genoa Cathedral

Coordinates: 44°24′26.92″N 8°55′53.83″E / 44.4074778°N 8.9316194°E / 44.4074778; 8.9316194

Façade of St. Lawrence Cathedral.
Interior of the Cathedral.
The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence, in the presbytery vault, by Lazzaro Tavarone.

The Cathedral of Saint Lawrence (Italian: Cattedrale di San Lorenzo) is a church in the Italian city of Genoa, the seat of the Archbishop of Genoa.



The cathedral was founded probably in the 5th or 6th century AD, devoted to St. Sirus, bishop of Genoa. Excavations under the pavement and in the area in front of today's façade have brought to light walls and pavements of Roman age as well as pre-Christian sarcophagi, suggesting the existence of a cemetery in the site. Later a church devoted to the Twelve Apostles was built, which was in turn flanked and replaced by a new cathedral dedicated to St. Lawrence martyr, in Romanesque style. Money came from the successful enterprises of the Genoese fleets in the Crusades.

The transferring of the cathedral favored the urbanization of the zone that, with the construction of it walls, in 1155, and the fusion of the three ancient city nuclei (castrum, civitas and burgus), became the heart of the city. The piazza, in absence of other public squares and centers of lay power, was the only city's public space for the whole Middle Ages. The cathedral was consecrated by Pope Gelasius II in 1118. Starting from 1133 the church had archiepiscopal rank. After the fire of 1296, provoked by fights between Guelphs and Ghibellines, the building was partly restored and partly rebuilt. Between 1307 and 1312 the façade was completed, the inner colonnades rebuilt with capitals and matronei added. The Romanesque structures remained pretty untouched, and frescoes of religious subject were also added.

Various altars and chapels have been erected between the 14th and 15th the century. The small loggia on the northeastern tower of the façade was built in 1455; the opposite one, in Mannerist style, is from 1522. In 1550 the Perugian architect Galeazzo Alessi was commissioned by the city magistrates to plan the reconstruction of the entire building; however, he executed only the covering of the nave and aisles, the pavement, the dome and the apse.

The construction of the cathedral end in the 17th century. The dome and the medieval parts were restored in 1894-1900.

The cathedral had a fortunate escape on February 9, 1941 when the city was being shelled as part of Operation Grog. Due to a crew error, the British battleship HMS Malaya fired a 381 mm armour piercing shell into the south east corner of the nave. The relatively soft material failed to detonate the fuse and the shell is still there.[1]

The Museum of the Treasury lies under the cathedral and it collects jewellry and silverware from 9 AD up to the present. One of the most important piece is the Sacred bowl brought by Guglielmo Embriaco after the conquest of Cesarea and supposed to be the chalice used by Christ during the Last Supper and the Cassa Processionale del Corpus Domini.[2]


  1. ^ "Obituary:Commander Henry Hatfield". Daily Telegraph. 4-July-2010. Retrieved 5-July-2010. 
  2. ^ Genoa in 4 Hour by Edizioni GMT in Engish


See also


  1. ^ "Obituary:Commander Henry Hatfield". Daily Telegraph. 4-July-2010. Retrieved 5-July-2010. 
  2. ^ Genoa in 4 Hour by Edizioni GMT in Engish

External links

  • Padovano, Aldo; Felice Volpe (2008). La grande storia di Genova Enciclopedia. Artemisia Progetti Editoriali. pp. 81–82. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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