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:
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.