Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cattedrale di San Lorenzo

Name: Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
Architect: Galezzo Alessi (dome only)
Posted by: Clinton Riddle
Location: Via San Lorenzo, Genoa, Italy

It seems if the history of the San Lorenzo, Genoa's cathedral, is largely one of conflict. Consecrated by Pope Gelasius II in 1118, the cathedral was originally constructed in the Romanesque style, with funds coming from the successful enterprises of the Genoan fleet during the Crusades. After a fire in 1296, provoked by fighting between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, the church had to be was partly rebuilt. It was remodeled in the Gothic style between 1307 and 1312, and the Renaissance dome was added by the Perugian architect Galezzo Alessi in 1550. Construction was complete by the end of the 16th century. In February 1941 the British battleship HMS Malaya and the battlecruiser HMS Renown bombarded Genoa. One shell fell into the church, but failed to explode, and can now seen in the museum located in the cathedral's crypt.

The first impression of Genoa's duomo is one of a church that appears far less grand than the elaborate Gothic duomo of Milan, the majestic Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, or the striped cathedral in Siena. Those impressions change upon entering the edifice. It's a difficult to describe feeling, but it's obvious that the ups and downs of the city of Genoa are reflected within the slightly battered walls and rugged fortress-like doors of the cathedral. The interesting lighting is also worth noting. Being originally of Romanesque construction, the nave is rather dark, but the Renaissance dome over the transept allows a considerable about of sunlight to illuminate the altar area, creating a rather engaging condition.

Clinton Riddle

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