Santa Maria di Castello

Genoa, Italy

Santa Maria di Castello is a church and religious complex located in the Castello hill of the city, where in the Middle Ages a bishop's fortified castle existed. The church is flanked by the large Tower of the Embriaci.

The church, in Romanesque style, was erected before 900 AD. It houses many artworks commissioned by the main noble families of Genoa, by artists such as Francesco Maria Schiaffino, Lorenzo Fasolo, Alessandro Gherardini, Giuseppe Palmieri, Francesco Boccaccino, Pier Francesco Sacchi, Bernardo Castello, Aurelio Lomi and Tommaso Orsolino. Notable are the frescoes with Stories of David and the painted majolicas from the 16th century Genoese school.

The high altar is decorated by a marble group of the 'Assumption' by Domenico Parodi (late 17th century), while the chapel to the left of the presbytery has a Santa Rosa da Lima by Domenico Piola and a marble cover by Taddeo Carlone. The fourth chapel in the left aisle has a Madonna del Rosario by the workshop of Anton Maria Maragliano, while the first chapel has a painting attributed to Giovanni Battista Paggi (early 17th century).

The baptistery has a polyptych from Lombard masters of the 15th century. The main portal is in Tuscan style (mid-15th century), and is surmounted by a Gothic lunette of the 14th century with a 'Crucifixion'.

The loggia facing the second cloister has frescoes of Saints, a Madonna and, on the first floor, an Annunciation by Giusto d'Alemagna (1451). In the upper floor has a statue of 'St. Catherina of Alexandria' and a marble tabernacle attributed to Domenico Gagini (15th century).



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Founded: 9th century AD
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Sue Furnival (10 months ago)
Interested in old churches, we went to Santa Maria di Castello and found a marvellous volunteer guide, Giovanni. He spent a lot of time with us and was a fount of knowledge, all explained in English, which we thoroughly appreciated. There are some wonderful things to see, including some beautiful cloisters, exquisite old vestments embroidered by nuns, flags from the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 (staggering!) and a very unusual wooden carving of Christ in the church. Giovanni also showed us fascinating details such as the hinged wooden boxes in the back of the seats in the choir where the monks spat when they were unwell, which seems to have been quite often. The church is very definitely worth visiting. There was so much to see and learn and the volunteers so friendly and helpful.
Siegfried B (13 months ago)
The Chiesa di Santa Maria di Castello is a beautiful church. The building is in Roman style and with modestly decorated architectural features, including fabulous faience work on the walls. The church has some wonderful medieval fresco’s and paintings, an impressive marble altar and a beautiful altar with the Annunciation of Mary. You can visit most parts freely and there are volunteers to answer your questions.
Eva Valkovicova (19 months ago)
An amazing church which has an amazing amount of things to see. Ask the volunteers inside to show you around. It might be they don't speak English, but it's worth to see even without the explanation.
Andrew Taylor (2 years ago)
This hidden Romanesque church complex is well worth a visit, especially for the guided tour offered by volunteers, which you will probably receive PRIVATELY due to the small number of visitors. It was formerly administered by the Dominicans. There are cloisters and numerous pieces of intact medieval art, including a beautiful Annunciation fresco from 1451, which the Grimaldi family had a key role in sponsoring.
DAVID SNYDER (4 years ago)
Beautiful church with some remarkable works of art.
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