Santo Stefano Church

Genoa, Italy

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.

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Details

Founded: 10th century AD
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

DAVID SNYDER (5 years ago)
Impressive.
Francisco Chamorro (5 years ago)
Beautiful church, seems to be closed. The area around there is great for walking.
Gary T (5 years ago)
This is a wonderful old church. You can't just walk through. Spend a hour looking or go to a concert.
Roman Bobesiuk (5 years ago)
Very nice church
Jeremy Lewis (6 years ago)
Absolutely beautiful. I cannot express in words how much we loved coming here and how amazing Genoa is. Our favorite!
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