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Pocket Guide: Porto Antico Cattedrale di San Lorenzo Hotels

Built around 1098, this handsome, black-and-white striped cathedral dazzles visitors with its striking frontage decorated with marble columns and guarded by two grand stone lions.

The Gothic-Romanesque cathedral is said to preserve the ashes of John the Baptist, which were brought back to the city from the Holy Land during the Crusades. And rumour has it that the cathedral is haunted by the ghosts of the workmen who built it.

Stay near Cattedrale Di San Lorenzo

There are many places to stay near the Cattedrale Di San Lorenzo in Genoa's historic quarter, from luxury international chain hotels to historic palazzos packed with character near. On a budget? There are many one- and two-star hotels within easy walking distance of the cathedral in Pre and San Vincenzo.

History of the Cattedrale Di San Lorenzo

Consecrated in 1118 by Pope Gelasius II, the church has been the seat of the archbishop of Genoa since 1133. Following a fire in 1296, the building was rebuilt, then between the 14th and 15th centuries, a small chapel was built to house the ashes of St John the Baptist. And in 1941, the building narrowly avoided being destroyed by a British World War II bomb that crashed through the roof, but failed to ignite. Today, the Royal Navy shell is on display at the cathedral.

Visiting Cattedrale Di San Lorenzo

Step back in time to the Genoa of yesteryear by exploring this ancient cathedral. Take time to look at the building's ornate interior with its gilded vaults and frescoes, where highlights include a 14th-century Byzantine-style fresco just beyond the main entrance.

Take a peek around the small marble chapel said to house the ashes of John the Baptist, and is lined with statues. Don't miss Cattedrale Di San Lorenzo’s underground treasury, the Museo del Tesoro di San Lorenzo, where you'll find a treasure-trove of relics, including a Byzantine cross, a platter purported to be the one used to present John the Baptist's head, as well as the urn for his ashes. You can also see what is believed to be the Holy Grail. All visitors need to cover their shoulders and knees to be allowed to enter the cathedral.

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