Basilica di Santa Maria di Castello

Basilica di Santa Maria di Castello

Basilica di Santa Maria di Castello
5
Religious SitesHistory MuseumsChurches & Cathedrals
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5.0
492 reviews
Excellent
391
Very good
90
Average
9
Poor
2
Terrible
0

AnnArborMHT
Genoa, Italy1,681 contributions
Apr 2012 • Friends
Genova has no shortage of stunning churches to visit, including the tourist’s favorites San Lorenzo, Chiesa del Gesu and San Siro, but try not to miss the beautiful Romanesque Santa Maria di Castello built in the 12th century, with it’s cloisters, small spectacular museum, frescos, rectory and small garden; it’s full of treasures! Unfortunately, it can be a bit difficult to locate and it’s in an area that looks a bit dicey, but I have never had any problems, just visit during the daylight hours. Before entering, notice to the right of the front doors the large Tower of the Embriaci.

The church is usually open between 8-12 and 3-6 and often in the morning there is a volunteer who can tell you about the church (please give a small donation for this service). If you don’t speak Italian, ask to see if the English volunteer is there (usually on Wednesday mornings) he is excellent! I arrived most recently on a Wednesday morning and was delighted by the volunteer’s tour which lasted 45 minutes and included the locked, small museum with wonderful paintings, statues, an original Genova flag, gold woven vestments and architectural pieces. He also showed us in the main church the black Jesus, whose hair seemed to grow, the painting of a saint with 6 toes on each foot and the several completely different columns with different “recycled” cornices. The many side chapels were donated and built by the great families of the Genoese nobility and have beautiful art work. He also took us into the large cloister to see the masterpiece by Ravensburg: The Annunciation painted in 1451. There is some written information in English regarding this painting, but you would be well rewarded to read about this church before visiting to appreciate all it has to offer, or hope for an excellent volunteer! Your donation goes to the continued restoration of the church. If you have an extra day in Genova or just love to visit churches, this should be high on your list! Enjoy Genova!
Written April 25, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Cuckoo4Caca
Genoa, Italy92 contributions
Aug 2013 • Solo
Why should a 32-year-old genoese guy write a review about Santa Maria di Castello on TA?!?

Well, it's pretty clear Genova is not the typical touristic spot where everything attractive is well organized and advertised. No, Genova needs to be discovered and Santa Maria di Castello is an excellent example of what I'm saying: if this ancient church was in Rome or Florence, you'd pay up to 10$ or € to visit the 3 floor building with all its precious paintings and frescos and would queue for hours. I think that just a few of my fellow citizens have visited this piece of history!

Also the keepers are very nice and experts; you only have to ask and they will show the whole amazing masterpiece.

If you're coming to Genoa you cannot miss it, as well as Torre Embriaci and fascinating Campo Pisano...

You'll find out that it's not worth wasting time in soulless cities as Nice, Pisa or Milan! :)
Written October 21, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Max M
Luton157 contributions
May 2017
I'm a born cynic - if someone approaches me in a church and offers a tour, I suspect their motive. A couple of experiences in Genoa proved to me that it is well worth taking a chance.
The main church here is quite simple with some nice altars, but there is so much more behind the scenes. We were taken round by a Russian volunteer with a wicked sense of humour. She really brought the place to life for us, pointing out things in the main church we would not have seen, taking us to the choir, then in to the former monastery, now laid out as a museum. We only stopped at the best bits - some superb frescoes, paintings and carvings. Halfway round our guide confessed that she was an atheist, but felt it was important to support Genoa's cultural heritage. She was able to put the things we saw in a historical context in an entertaining and memorable way.
So if you have some time and want to see another side of Genoa, take a chance - you wont regret it!
Written July 27, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AnnArborMHT
Genoa, Italy1,681 contributions
Aug 2013 • Solo
Santa Maria di Castello's volunteer organization is committed to making each person's visit to this lovely church a meaningful and learning experience. It has so many treasures, sculptures, frescoes, paintings and religious art from the 15th century onwards, linking it to the history of the city that a visit here will introduce you to the major families of Genova. The good news is that they have added 19 informational panels in front of individual altars and works of art explaining some of the vast history behind these monuments. Right now it's all in Italian but they are working with the American International Women's Club to translate these panels into English and then other languages. But, as other TA reviewers have mention (and I also in other reviews here) the volunteer organization is also committed to always having a volunteer guide in the church during all open hours. These guides mainly speak Italian but others do speak other languages. They can show you the hidden treasure and the many small museums within the church complex of which the relics museum is very interesting as well as the paintings museum. If you don't see a volunteer, they are probably giving a tour, so wait a bit. The church is open from 10am to 1pm and 3pm to 6pm Mondays- Saturdays with a daily service at 6pm.. On Sunday they have services at 11am and 6pm; otherwise closed. Keep in mind that during the month of August nearly the entire country goes on vacation, so there may not always be a volunteer during this time. Visits are sometimes suspended during religious celebrations. There is a beautiful, peaceful cloister which is well maintained with flowers and can be visited; just ask. It would make a great setting for an event, wedding or summer gathering. As you depart, be sure to leave a small tip for the continued restoration of the church. The volunteers will thank you and it's a great way to support the church's efforts!
Written August 4, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

joannasinbox
London166 contributions
Aug 2016 • Friends
Near Stant' Agostino metro stop. Very difficult to find so ask the locals. It is well worth the effort. The church stands not far from the remains of the fortified castle of the bishop, built between the 9th and 10th centuries on top of the hill, on the site occupied by the pre-Roman, Roman and Byzantine fortifications. Recycled materials - granite columns and Corinthian capitals of the Roman era, dating to the third century, were integrated into the building. The 'NEW' church was consecrated in 1237 and is the oldest church in Genoa. It is truly beautiful and should not be missed.
If you are offered a free tour, take it. For once, it is not a scam. Some ladies organised a 'friends of the church' group and will take you through the sacristy, cloisters and a little museum which are closed to the general public. All of them are fascinating.
Written August 21, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

PaoloP66
Genoa, Italy239 contributions
Oct 2013
Genoese are a very modest people, used since Middle Ages to hide their treasures. This is why medieval palaces in Genoa are modest from the street, just to reveal marvelous courtyards, fountains, and interiors with paintings from Van Dijk and Rubens.
This just to explain why a church like Santa Maria di Castello in France would be well known all over the world, with hours of queue to visit it, while in Genoa is a quiet medieval church you can discover like a gem.
The church lies in the original site of primitive Genoa (6th C. bC), and was built by Dominican monks in Romanic style in XIV century.
It has such a wealth of sculpture, paintings, relics etc. that it is more a museum than a church.
Among its treasures, a "Cristo Moro" (Moor Christ), a wooden crucifix in dark wood donated by migrants from Lucca in 1400, and believed to make miracles (see photo). A banner from the Turkish fleet defeated in the Battle of Lepanto (1571). A mural painting of Annunciazione. A bomb (one of the more than 10.000) shot from the French fleet during the bombing of Genoa (1670), which hit the church and by miracle did not explode (Cristo Moro ??). 3 cloisters. A wonderful view of old Genoa harbour. Etc etc
All this is free of charge during opening hours.
After the visit, taste the wonderful "farinata" (chickpea's flour pie) in the old Sciamadda, just 200 m from the church.
Enjoy it, you will not miss France :-)
Written October 26, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kiwitraveller5063
49 contributions
Jan 2019 • Solo
Not at all easy to find, but worth the effort. Enter the church and look around. Then find a guide at the back of the church who will take you - for nothing- through cloisters, chapels, gardens, treasuries...amazing. Please give a donation as you leave so this can continue. No English guide when I was there...because they’re volunteers, I guess it’s just pot luck. My Italian guide also spoke French, so I managed. The guides seem to be 1-on-1. This is an absolute must see.
Written January 7, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jeroen O
Dordrecht, The Netherlands80 contributions
Nov 2015 • Couples
Yes, there is plenty of beautiful churches in Genova. But this one offers you a special (free) tour by a passionate guide. He takes you to the cloister, the catacombes and other hidden places. Very enjoyable are the decorated relics...
Written October 16, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

raymond c
Genoa, Italy20 contributions
Feb 2015 • Friends
I suggest a short walk. From Piazza Dante, you can go into the Old City through Porta Soprana (also known as Porta di Sant'Andrea), walk along Via Di Ravecca, cross Piazza Sarzano (where you can see an old pit with the stony head of "Giano Bifronte", an ancient symbol of Genoa), and climb the hill of Castello. On the top of this hill, you can visit Santa Maria di Castello, a severe early Christian building. Very interesting is the Cloister, all frescoed by Flemish medieval painters.
Written March 4, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

wei li
Nijmegen, The Netherlands7 contributions
Jul 2019 • Family
We visited this church during our 1-day tour of Genoa. We were greeted by a Church staff, an Italy gentleman who speaks no English. Thanks to Google translator, we managed to communicate and learn about this Church. It has so many interesting history and many precious items in the Church. We were surprised that we were the only visitors in the afternoon. By the way it only opens at 3pm in the afternoon.
Written July 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Basilica di Santa Maria di Castello, Genoa