The Quirky Cathedral San Lorenzo

We have an affinity for quirky architecture. The Cathedral San Lorenzo is as quirky as it gets.

San Lorenzo began as a small church in the fifth or sixth century and was rebuilt several times before being consecrated as Genoa's main cathedral in 1118. As is often the case with medieval churches, the construction continued for centuries incorporating numerous architects and styles throughout the years. The facade, with the black and white layered stripes of marble and slate is typical of Genoa (or Genova to the Italians), was finished in 1312.

Cathedral San Lorenzo, Genoa Italy

The plaza facing San Lorenzo is so small that I had to lie supine with my head propped on an opposite building to capture a partial photo of this wonderfully surprising cathedral. Tight as the plaza is, musicians, street entertainers, balloon artists and art students crowded the steps and cobblestones.

Cathedral San Lorenzo, Genoa Italy

Close up on the columns at the front of the church. Each is its own work of art.

Cathedral San Lorenzo, Genoa Italy

Yes, this shot is straight on. And, yes, the window is THAT wonky. I loved this window.

A figure column on a corner.

Inside the black and white continues to dominate the decor, yet the altar area is bright and colorful - the contrast strange and wonderful.

Pipe Organ in Cathedral San Lorenzo, Genoa Italy

The pipe organ.

An odd little alcove in Cathedral San Lorenzo, Genoa Italy

An odd little alcove. Babies resting against skulls... hmmmm.

The miracle bomb in Cathedral San Lorenzo, Genoa Italy

Proudly displayed inside the Cathedral is an unexploded World War II bomb that had hit, but miraculously spared the church by not detonating. Sure glad this ominous projectile was a dud - the cathedral is such a unique architectural specimen - its loss would have been tragic. Hopefully the priests of San Lorenzo were expert bomb diffusers. I would have hated for their incredible luck to run out while I was snapping a photo.


See also:
Genoa's Ancient City in Pictures
Overview of Genoa - learn more about the city itself

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