The Church of the Santi Cosma and Daniamo Church in Genoa is built between the foothills of the Castello Hill and the Mandraccio Port. The church is located within the 12th century city walls. It is thought, though there is no evidence, that an oratory dedicated to Damiano was already there between the 7th and 8th centuries. Probably the church was reconstructed in the 11th century.
Santi Cosma and Damiano Church Genoa
Address: Piazza San Cosimo – Genoa. Phone: +39 010 2468869. Opening times: Thursday, friday and Saturday from 15:30 till 18:30. Ticket price: Free.
History and description
The oldest document mentioning the Chiesa dei Santi Cosma e Damiano dates back to 1007.
The relics of Saint Damiano were only brought from Constantinople to Genoa in 1296.
In 1661 the church was converted into an abbey. It is not known exactly which parts of the church have been restored over the centuries. What is known is that bombings in 1684 (by the French) and later in the Second World War caused a lot of damage.
The floor plan has hardly changed from the one of the original church.
The facade is divided into three parts.The central part and the entire lower part across the width of the church, as well as the lower part across the width of the church, protrude slightly. The lower part contains three 12th century tombs. This type of tomb (a niche tomb with an arch above it) is called arcosolium and was originally widely used in catacombs.
The so-called Barisone Tomb is located higher in the wall and, because it rests on columns and has a pointed shape, it looks different from the other two.
The large window was added in the 17th century. The roof is uneven in shape, which is due to changes made after the French bombing.
The portal protrudes another little bit. The black and white arch rests on alternating white columns and black pillars. The architrave used to be part of a Roman monument and is decorated with cosmatesque inlays.
The side of the church also contains tombs. The lower part is made of irregular stones while the upper part is smoother. The frieze is characterized by a shark tooth motif. The side door dates from the 8th century, while the bifurcation above it is a century older.
On the opposite side, there is also a door ending in a pointed arch.
The back of the church dates from the 7th century. The only apse that protrudes slightly is the central one.
The interior consists of three naves. The semi-circular arches rest on black and white columns with marble capitals from the 7th century. Above the intersection of nave and transept is a tower supported by four corner pillars. This tower is characterized by first a row of monoforas, then a row of biforas and finally an octagonal dome.
The inside of the facade is very poorly restored.
What to see
The “Sepulcher of the Barbers and Surgeons” (1476).
There are multiple canvases that have the “Annunciation of the Lord” as their theme (17th century).
“Esther with Assuero” (B. Castello, 17th century)
“Saints Cosma and Damiano healing the Sick” (G. Assereto, 17th century).