The Chiesa del Gesù e dei Santi Ambrogio e Andrea in Genoa was built between the late 16th and early 17th centuries. It is the most important Jesuit church of the city. For the façade, which dates from the 19th century, an old design by Rubens was used. Two the painter’s works can also be seen in the church itself.
Chiesa del Gesù e dei Santi Ambrogio e Andrea Genoa
Address: Via Petrarca, 1 – Genova. Telephone: +39 0102514122. Opening hours: From 10.30am to 12pm and from 4pm to 7pm. Entrance fee: Free.
History and description
Construction lasted from 1589 to 1606. The architect Giuseppe Valerani was himself a Jesuit. He built the church on the foundations of the pre-existing Sant’Andrea Church, which used to be the seat of the bishops of Milan imprisoned in Genoa after the Lombard invasion.
Construction of the 16th-century church was paid for by Marcello Pallavicino, who retained private use of the transept and one of the chapels for his own family.
The church consists of a single auditorium, which is the custom for Jesuit churches. This auditorium has a central dome. The side chapels have small domes decorated with ceiling frescoes. The interior is further characterized by colorful marble and ornamental stucco decorations.
The lower part of the façade dates back to 1637.
Finally, the construction was not fully completed until 1892, thanks to a new facade, based upon designs by Rubens from 1622.
What to see
Rubens also left his mark on the church interior, thanks to the paintings “Circumcision” and “Saint Ignatius Heals a Possessed Man”. Another highlight is the “Assumption of Mary” by Guido Reni (third chapel on the right).
The frescoes adorning the central nave, transept, inner façade and presbiterium were painted by Giovanni Battista Corlone. The painting on the central dome is themed “The Assumption of Mary”.
Most of the smaller domes were frescoed by Lorenzo De Ferrari. Exceptions are the first chapel on the right, painted by Sebastiano Galeotti, and the fourth on the left (Antonio Giolfi).
The, in Italian Jesuit churches ubiquitous, Andrea Pozzo painted the “San Francesco Borgia” in the first chapel on the left.
The large organ at the entrance was designed by the Fleming Willem Hermans, but the carvings were done by Filippo Santacroce.