The “Parish” of Finale at Marina
5th – 14th century CE
The ancient paleochristian and medieval church for baptisms
At Finalmarina, under the current church of the Capuchin Fathers, there are the remains of what is known as the “Parish” of Finale, dedicated to St. John Baptist and to saints Nazario and Celso. It is, in fact, the religious building where baptisms were held and on which the other churches of the territory depended on.
This ancient religious building was excavated between 1939 and 1946 by Giovanni Andrea Silla, the local historian, and by Carlo Ceschi, then the Superintendent of Monuments in Liguria, that brought to light a complex sequence of buildings with various phases that went from the 5th to the 14th century.
The ancient baptismal church was built in the 5th century close to the roman settlement and necropolis in a natural harbour by the mouth of the torrent Pora.
MORE INFORMATION – The “Parish” of Finale
The paleochristian building had a rectangular plan that was around 13 meters long and 10 meters wide, with an apse facing east and a cocciopesto floor. The remains of a small enclosure placed in front of the altar were interpreted as a “schola cantorum”, destined for liturgical chants. This church had a simple octagonal shaped baptismal font of which the remains can be seen under a medieval pillar.
There is a funerary epigraphy in poetic verse dedicated to Paula, a two year old girl that was buried in 517 that can be attributed to this church. The numerous white marble fragments of the epigraphy found during the excavations were recomposed on the right side of the church.
Between the 8th and the 10th century the paleochristian church was expanded with the construction of a building with three naves on pillars and had a single central apse. The new circular baptismal font was moved towards the front of the church.
In the 11th century further reconstruction work into romanic forms of the church was registered, with the creation of three apses and walls made with small square blocks. The main apse was characterised by six semicircular niches, destined to the officiants. A new large baptismal font, still circular, was built at the centre of the main nave. Some of the medieval arches are visible inside the current church.
On the walls and on the pillars of the medieval church there are preserved numerous traces of the frescos that decorated the church. On a wall, one of the frescos represents a medieval ship, similar to those that were built in the shipyards close by.
The large wall-mounted marble slab with a recumbent figure wearing sacred robes, was the lid of the tomb of the archpriest of the church Matteo de Grossi, who had died in 1529.
The progressive expansion of the town of Marina del Finale along the coast in 1567 made the seat and the ecclesiastical title of the church move to the church of Sant’Antonio, positioned at the centre of the town. The ancient building of the church was given to the Capuchin Fathers in 1585, that created their monastery that was active until a few years ago.
HOW TO REACH
THE “PARISH” OF FINALE AT MARINA
How to reach the site
The church of the Capuchin Fathers is in Via Brunenghi in Finalmarina.
The archaeological remains of the previous buildings are preserved under the current religious building and usually aren’t accessible.
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