The churches scattered in the historical center of Genoa are many and they tell the history of ancient genoese noble families.
Wandering among the labyrinth of alleys you can always discover new ones and less known. Some rise up majestically and fascinating in narrow alleys. They seduce you and invite you to discover them deeper. At least this is what happens to me every time I decide to take a walk in the narrow streets and corners of Genoa old town.
In this post I’d like to share with you some pictures I have taken about some aspects of the churches which have intrigued me more.
San Matteo Church – An authentic taste of the medieval city
Commissioned in 1125 by the powerful Genoese Doria Family as their private chapel, this church was renovated several times in the centuries (in 1278 it was renewed in gothic style as you can also notice from the façade in white (marble) and black (slate) stripes.
The small square where the church is situated is elevated. On the side, the church has an old lovely cloister. One of the things I love to do when I’m in this charming square is standing in the middle of the piazza, look around me and feeling the medieval atmosphere coming from this place.
The magnificent altar under which is housed a sword belonged to Andrea Doria, donated to this church by Pope Paul III
The church has a magnificent original organ, constructed in 1773 and which is allowed to be played just by 2 local people.
San Donato Church – close to the cathedral
In the heart of Genoa historical center, situated in a small square and at some minutes of walk from San Lorenzo Cathedral do not forget to visit San Donato Church built in the 12th century in Romanesque style.
Inside the building has one nave and two aisles divided by columns, some of which date back to the first Roman construction. The nave is covered by trusses that were placed after the destruction of the previous covering during the Second World War. The church houses many works of art!
San Siro Church – Genoa’s first cathedral
If you are visiting Via Garibladi Unesco World Heritage Site street, I suggest to continue a little further and go to Via San Siro, where is located the beautiful church of San Siro.
Built between the 4th century and 5th century, this church was Genoa’s first cathedral! Initially it was dedicated to the 12 Apostoles and then to a Genoese Bishop Siro (a saint remembered for his miracles). It is said that the church was initially located inside the urban area (a cathedral out of the city would not have made any sense), but later on because of the Middle Ages depopulation it was situated outside the 9th century walls, while S. Lorenzo became the cathedral, in that it was more safely located within the walls.
One of the amazing things of San Siro church is its imposing marble curtain which comes outside from the side façade!
This are just three of the many churches you can find in the historical center of Genoa. What I always suggest is to immerse in this old town with a local person, which knows best its secret corners.