The Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Genoa

The Cathedral of San Lorenzo is the most important church in Genoa and the place of worship par excellence in the city, an imposing and solemn structure that is unique for its characteristic Genoese Gothic style facade. Consecrated on 10 October 1118 by Pope Gelasius II, when only the altar and an area reserved for prayer existed, the Cathedral of San Lorenzo was subsequently enlarged: the completion of the external facade dates back to the early fourteenth century.

The famous chapel of San Giovanni Battista dates back to the period between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, built inside the left aisle to house the remains of the patron saint of the city, who arrived in Genoa at the end of the First Crusade. The exterior features Gothic portals, an expression of the mastery of French artists, and the classic black and white banded vestment, one of the symbols of medieval nobility. In the central portal, you can admire bas-reliefs and high-reliefs depicting Christ the Judge, surrounded by the symbols of the Evangelists, and the Martyrdom of San Lorenzo: in the jambs there is the Tree of Jesse, the female genealogy of Christianity, and many other representations, from the Flight into Egypt to the Annunciation.

Visiting the inside of the cathedral of San Lorenzo in Genoa, it is possible to discover the union between the Gothic part at the bottom, with arches and columns with black and white stripes and the Romanesque part, in grey stone: a union enabled by the extensive experience of shipbuilding at that time. Along the right aisle, you can observe an unmissable curiosity: it is the replica of an unexploded war device, in memory of the horrors of war and in memory of one of the substantial attacks suffered by the city during the Second World War.

Inside the crypt, in the medieval basement, you can access the Museum of the Treasure of San Lorenzo: a treasure chest of works, relics in gold and silver that takes you from the Middle Ages up to the Renaissance and the Baroque. Among the most iconic pieces is the Sacred Basin, an object shrouded in mystery, which is associated by tradition with the Holy Grail, the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper.

Nestled between the cathedral and the Duke’s Palace is the Diocesan Museum, a magical place to walk inside a medieval cloister full of frescoes, built on an ancient Roman home: a tour of the four floors where you can see themed rooms, such as that of the famous Canvases of the Passion, painted in white on a blue background, which are inspired by a series of wood carvings made by Albrecht Dürer in 1511. The support is an important detail: an indigo-dyed linen fibre that can be considered the direct ancestor of modern jeans.

The Cathedral of San Lorenzo in Genoa is open every day from 8 to 12 and from 15 to 19. The Museum of the Treasury opens on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 to 12 and from 15 to 18 and on Sundays from 15 to 18. Closed on Tuesdays. The Diocesan Museum opens the following hours: Monday from 10 to 13, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 14.30 to 18: Tuesday, Wednesday and closed on Sunday.

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