First of all let me say that San Lorenzo Cathedral is the most important place of worship in Genoa.

History of San Lorenzo Cathedral

It became a Cathedral from the ninth century, replacing the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles (built starting from 1098).

In the Middle Age the area of San Lorenzo became the heart of Genoa. In a city without squares, the churchyard of San Lorenzo offered a fundamental stage for political and civil life.

Repairs through the ages left different architectural styles but a late nineteenth-century restoration enhanced the medieval parts and the current appearance of the cathedral.

The interior: Memories from the World War II

In the right aisle, you can find the exact copy of an unexploded shell fired by the British fleet on the 9th of February 1941. It was one of the worst attacks during World War II. The original bomb came from the roof without exploding. It was set off in the sea the same day.

The Cathedral and the Museum

The Cathedral of San Lorenzo is literally wonderful and it’s a must be seen during your visit in Genoa.

In the Museo del Tesoro you can find several treasures shrouded in mystery, for instance:

  • The green Holy Basin, contemplated as Holy Grail;
  • The precious Zaccaria Cross with a piece of the True Cross in it;
  • The Plate of San Giovanni Battista, where the Head of the Saint could have been held;
  • The Ark of San Giovanni Battista ashes.

The facade: legends and scaffoldings

The facade is plenty of small decorations. Every single detail has a symbolic meaning and you need time to totally admire it. Unfortunately huge scaffoldings are covering it today as the facade is under restoration. I hope we won’t see those monsters for too long.

Additionally there are some rumors about the facade. According to local legends (speculations) its intricate details could reveal whether you are destined to find true love. The answer should be YES only if you see the tiny dog carved in the marble (and that’s not an easy one!). Actually this is completely made up and the repeated touch is going to damage the marble in that point.

Visit San Lorenzo Cathedral

You can visit San Lorenzo Cathedral every day from 8 to 12 and from 3pm to 7pm between Services. There is no entrance fee, unless you decide to visit the Museo del Tesoro, the Towers and Museo Diocesiano (suggested).

Mass Time Schedule

Mon-Fri 8,30am-6pm

Sat 6pm

Sun 9am-10,30am-6,30pm


The splendid cathedral of San Lorenzo stands majestically on the homonymous street and the beautiful square in front of the churchyard. From here you can enjoy a privileged space that gives the square a charming bohemian air between ancient shops and historic ice cream parlours.