Church of San Biagio in Finalborgo
A splendid 17th century basilica
The basilica of San Biagio in Finalborgo is one of the most beautiful baroque churches of western Ligura for the richness of its marbles and the pieces of art that it conserves, like the original white marble pulpit and the balustrade with angels.
The current building constitutes the last phase of a complex history: the part of the apse is what remains of the original medieval church, while the elegant octagonal bell tower, that is built on top of a tower of the town walls, ids dated to the renaissance phases of the church.
MORE INFORMATION – Church of San Biagio in Finalborgo
A medieval church dedicated to San Biagio in Finalborgo is documented for the first time in 1261 when Giacomo Del Carretto let the men of Rialto use the woods on the Melogno slopes. Fifty years later, in the medieval statutes of Finale of 1311, the punishments were dediced for who had gambled or acted inappropriately in the church and in the close by cemetery.
This first religious building with a hospital annexed was positioned on the eastern side of the Aquila torrent, outwith the walls of the town of Borgo of Finale and therefore was called San Biagio extra-muros.
In 1372 the community of the Borgo approved the transfer of the church within the town walls. The new church, with the construction finishing practically in 1375, rose close to the bridge, close to the walls, in correspondence to the entrance of the Borgo.
After the radical 17th century reconstruction of the medieval church there is only the polygonal apse, that protrudes from the town walls of Borgo, and also there still is the splendid bell tower that was built around 1463 on a semicircular tower.
In 1571 the church was plundered by German soldiers sent by the Emperor to avoid the Genoese occupation of the Finalese marquisate.
After the passage of Finale to Spain in 1602 the general Council of the Community of Borgo decided to build a new and grand basilica. The building of the baroque church started in 1643, with the project of the finalese architect Andrea Storace, was finished only in 1659 and consecrated in 1690.
The new basilica was set up with three naves with large pillars and presented a Latin cross plan with a cupola at the crossing of the transept.
In later years the church was enriched by altars set on the sides of the transept and on the flanks of the lateral naves. The white marble pulpit is dated to 1765, an original work of the Genoese sculptor Pasquale Bocciardo, while his son Girolamo Bocciardo made the splendid balustrade with angels that hold the eucharistic cloth and, in collaboration with Andrea Casareggio the main altar.
After the definitive suppression in 1864 of the Dominican church of Santa Caterina in Finalborgo the marble alters and prestigious paintings were removed from the church and taken to San Biagio.
Also the marble mausoleum of the last marquis Sforza Andrea Del Carretto, made in 1604 by Battista Orsolino for the presbytery of the Dominican church, was taken and set on the external counter-façade of the church.
In this way the basilica of San Biagio became a beautiful church, that has few comparions for the richness of its altars and for the high quality of paintings it preserves.
The frescos inside the cupola, the vault of the nave and the presbytery were made by various artists between 1870 and 1911.
For the description of the single works of art see the specific fact sheets in the ART section.
HOW TO REACH
CHURCH OF SAN BIAGIO IN FINALBORGO
How to reach the site
Finalmarina can be reached by car on the A10 motorway and taking the Feglino exit (if coming from Genoa, Turin or Milan) and the Finale Ligure exit (from all directions) or taking the SS1 road, Via Aurelia. There is also the train station of Finale Ligure.
The church can be visited and has free entry, apart from when there is mass and other functions.
Bookings for tours are available as part of the “Open door Open art” Project endorsed by MUDIF.
The visit is part of the project “Archeotrekking finale” promoted by Museo Archeologico del Finale and by Guide association “Finale Natura”.
Calendar of visits