TThe San Donato Church is the most important originally Romanesque church in Genoa. Highlights are the beautiful facade and the octagonal bell tower. Inside the church, the false matronium is particularly striking. It was probably built in the 12th century, although there are also theories claiming the church existed two centuries earlier.
San Donato Church Genoa
Address: Via San Donato, 10, 16123 Genova. Tel: +39 010 2468869. Opening hours: From 09.00 to 12.00 and from 15.00 to 19.00. Closed: Sunday afternoons. Entrance: Free.
History and description
The San Donato Church already existed in the 12th century, which is proven by an inscription on the right doorpost of the central entrance. However, there are those who believe that the church was built earlier, during the time of the Lombards. During the 19th and 20th centuries, this church was restored several times.
The facade is made of local limestone and has a pointed roof. The central entrance is protected by a protiro (a kind of portico, which however only covers the main entrance). It is characterized by a pointed arch resting on columns.
On either side of the entrance there are monophores and the upper part of the facade is graced by a rose window. The latter was added in 1925.
Under the gable roof, there is a toothed cornice with small arches.
The right flank is characterized by alternating semicircular and pointed arches under the roof, monophoras, a small entrance and some traces of two earlier entrances. The aedicula was built in the 17th century to cover up damage caused by bombing in 1684.
The apse was built at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries. The two smaller semi-circular side apses were added after World War II, but rest on older foundations.
The magnificent bell tower is octagonal in shape and is divided into three sections by cornices. The lower one consists of a loggia with two arches on each side separated by a circular column. The floor above is characterized by three arches and square columns and top one by five arches. The small oval dome cannot be seen from the outside.
What to see
The interior consists of three naves, covered by wooden ceilings. The naves are separated by walls with semi-circular arches and granite pillars. Above a cornice there are seven biforums that give the impression of a matronium.
The presbytery is located under the bell tower. The four large arches are supported by half pillars.