Santo Stefano church is one of the most outstanding examples of Romanesque architecture in Genoa. It was founded in the Middle Ages as part of an abbey, in the place where previously a 6th-century small church, entitled to St. Michael Archangel, was located. The most ancient document mentioning Santo Stefano dates from 965, although some scholars attribute its foundation in 972 to the then bishop of Genoa, Theodulf, who rebuilt it after a Saracen inroad.
It became a parish only eventually, in an unknown date, anyway after 1054. The abbey was held by the Benedictine order of Columbanian monks of Bobbio from 972 to 1431, when Pope Boniface IX turned it into a commenda under Cardinal Ludovico Fieschi. In 1497 a chapel with a marble choir was added to the church. In 1535 the monastery was demolished, replaced by another in the mid-17th century. The abbey was cared by the Olivetans from 1529 until 1776.
Santo Stefano is on a single nave, with a superelevated presbytery. Under the latter is the crypt, which would be the original nucleus of the church of St Michael Archangel. The dome is now in brickwork; it was rebuilt in the 14th century by abbot Niccolò Fieschi, and is octagonal in shape. The lower section of the bell tower is of uncertain dating, but is commonly deemed to be antecedent to the current church, and that it was probably used as a defensive structure.
The old church was to be replaced by a new Neo-Romanesque style edifice from the 19th century. The latter was however almost destroyed by Allied bombings during World War II.References:
Easter Aquhorthies stone circle, located near Inverurie, is one of the best-preserved examples of a recumbent stone circle, and one of the few that still have their full complement of stones. It consists of a ring of nine stones, eight of which are grey granite and one red jasper. Two more grey granite stones flank a recumbent of red granite flecked with crystals and lines of quartz. The circle is particularly notable for its builders' use of polychromy in the stones, with the reddish ones situated on the SSW side and the grey ones opposite.
The placename Aquhorthies derives from a Scottish Gaelic word meaning 'field of prayer', and may indicate a 'long continuity of sanctity' between the Stone or Bronze Age circle builders and their much later Gaelic successors millennia later. The circle's surroundings were landscaped in the late 19th century, and it sits within a small fenced and walled enclosure. A stone dyke, known as a roundel, was built around the circle some time between 1847 and 1866–7.