The Basilica of San Giovanni in Finalmarina
The grand baroque church in Marina del Finale
The Basilica of San Giovanni in Finalmarina is one of the most prestigious 17th century religious buildings of western Liguria. The church presents itself with a majestic baroque façade that dominates an open space that is surrounded by noble palaces.
In 1567 the bishop of Savona Ambrogio Fieschi ordered the community of Finalmarina to build a new church since the ancient “Parish of Finale” was decadent and marginalised compared to the town that was spreading along the coast.
After an initial transfer of the parish to the oratory of Sant’Antonio alla Marina in 1619 the construction of the new large baroque basilica took place. The construction finished only in 1674 after 55 years of work.
In 1762 the façade was completed with the design of the finalese architect Nicolò Barella, who had also designed the large cupola that was built in 1780. Over 160 years had passed since the first stone had been placed. The construction was supported with many sacrifices on behalf of the Marina population, in the first place the owners of the ships of the Sant’Ermete Company.
MORE INFORMATION – The Basilica of San Giovanni in Finalmarina
The harmonious façade with stucco decorations, that has been recently restored, is enriched by two small lateral bell towers, with a cymatium surmounted by the statues of St. John Baptist, St. Peter and St. Paul.
The church inside is set on a typical basilica plan with three naves that are divided by white Carrara marble double columns, following the model of the church of San Siro in Genoa.
The majestic main altar was made by the finalese sculptor Pietro Ripa in 1701 with a central tabernacle with spiral columns and signing angels that support the large crucifix.
Starting from the 17th century the church was enriched with prestigious marble polychrome altars, placed in the lateral chapels, patronised by the main families of Finalmarina and the numerous local confraternities.
In the chapel of the Immaculate Conception, in the left transept, there is an image of the Madonna, subject of a particular veneration with being the patron saint of the town: it’s a statue dressed with rich Spanish style robes, dated to 1681.
In the left aisle, the chapel of San Pietro, once belonging to the “Religious brotherhood for the redemption of slaves” established in 1648, houses the wooden group with the “Apparition of the Christ to Saint Peter” performed by Antonio Brilla in 1860, particularly revered by the fishermen of Finale.
In 1830 the painter Giuseppe Passano painted the frescos in the vault of the central nave with “Scenes of the life of St. John Baptist” and figures of prophets and sibyls in the lunettes. The decoration of the cupola was carried out by the Milanese painters Felice and Giovanni Bella with figures of the “Doctors of the Church” in the lunettes.
HOW TO REACH
THE BASILICA OF SAN GIOVANNI IN FINALMARINA
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.
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