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Museo Diocesano Chiostro dei Canonici di San Lorenzo
Ranked #40 of 307 things to do in Genoa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Set between the Cathedral and the nearby Palazzo Ducale, the cloister of San Lorenzo was built in the 12th century on the site of the ancient Carolingean defense walls as the residence of the priests serving the Cathedral. The structure of the building is rather complex due to the works of various restorations throughout the centuries. The first restoration works began in the XVI century; in 1653 two floors were added and thus the airy Romanesque loggias of ambulatories were substituted with broad and massive arches supported by strong pillars. Sold to the City in 1923, the cloister was accurately restored between 1988 and 1992. This project was preceded by archeological investigations which uncovered the remains of a house dating from the Roman era (1st c. BC). On the upper floors, the walls show precious wall paintings dating from the 13th century, such as the rare Cycle of the Months. The cloister houses the Diocesan Museum, which displays works from all the churches of the Dioceses, including archeological finds; silver ornaments; sculpture groups, such as the Sepulchral Monument to Luca Fieschi; works with gold-leaf backgrounds, such as the Polyptych of Saint Bartholomew, by Barnaba da Modena (14th c.); and numerous altar pieces by artists such as Perin del Vaga, Luca Cambiaso, Domenico Fiasella, Domenico Piola, and Gregorio De Ferrari. The Museum also houses a valuable textile section and the collection of the Teli della Passione, (Cloths of the Passion), painted in 1538 on indigo blue linen, an “ancestor” of the modern denim (Textile Collection, The Regional Board for the Historical, Artistic, and Ethno-Anthropological Heritage of Liguria, in the depository of the Diocesan Museum).
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Stairs / elevator
Reviewed July 1, 2012

This little museum is just around the corner from the Cathedral di San Lorenzo. Admission is 6 euros per person, but, as we learned when we were leaving, this admission also includes a visit to the Museo di Tesoro, a museum of treasures in the cathedral. Note that both these museums are closed for an extended time midday. When we were there, they were closed between noon and 4pm.
This museum contains many pieces of art important to Genoa and its history from several centuries. We especially enjoyed the "Blu di Genova" and exhibit of blue fabric decorated with religious art. This fabric was the precursor of blue jean material (the info suggested that the word "jeans" came from Genoa). These pieces were impressive and distinctive.
Museo del Tesoro was smaller but interesting. Contains impressive silver work and relic purportedly related to John the Baptist.

4  Thank travelinjep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4 - 8 of 110 reviews

Reviewed April 28, 2012

Museo Diocesano, just around the corner from San Lorenzo on Via Tomaso Reggio is often overlooked by tourists, but it’s a very interesting museum and certainly worth a visit to see important works of sculpture, art and paintings. It has a little of everything including the tomb of the Fieschi family and altarpieces and paintings by the famous Genovese painter, Luca Cambiaso. If you are interested in religious art, it houses beautiful tapestries, silver, reliquaries and vestments. But for me the highlight is just seeing all this combined in a lovely setting, wandering through the very peaceful cloisters and discovering the museum completely alone! Rarely have I seen other people inside!

I also really enjoy the “Blue of Genova” display of blue fabric sacred hangings considered to be the same fabric used to make our current day blue jeans. These hangings represent the Passion of Christ with white paint on the cloth and they date back to1500, when the color of blue was difficult to obtain and highly guarded. When you enter, the room it is completely dark until the light sensors pick up your movement, and then spotlights beam down on the hangings, giving the two rooms a very atmospheric feeling.

There is plenty of information in both Italian and English and they have laminated pages of information available when you enter. The museum is over three floors and they do have an elevator, but you must ask if you would like to use it. The bathrooms are lovely and in the basement. They have a small gift shop with some books/brochures in English. If you are visiting San Lorenzo Cathedral, consider a visit to this museum, just a minute walk away! I think you will enjoy it!

5  Thank AnnArborMHT
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Reviewed 1 week ago
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Thank Simona B
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago
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1  Thank dellacasa1965
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago
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1  Thank alyshi777
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