Historical background

The Treasure of the Cathedral was initially formed as a collection of objects as early as in the 12th century and expanded in later centuries through public and private donations, “state” and devotion contributions, and war loot; it became a museum in 1892, finally with a stable location open to the public.
After World War II, in the courtyard of the Archbishop’s Palace behind the Duomo, entirely new underground environments were specifically obtained to accommodate the museum, which was opened in 1956.
The project was developed by Franco Albini, while the arrangement was curated by Caterina Marcenaro, director of the civic museums.
It was immediately hailed as one of the most innovative and accomplished achievements of contemporary museography and is still remarkable today for its combination of architectural quality and location, as well as for the historical, artistic and cultural value of the precious pieces, enhanced by an evocative lighting.
A single glance is not enough to fully appreciate and understand the museum: short corridors lead to the small lobby of a first round room; then, a central room of irregular shape opens onto three further circular spaces, of increasingly bigger dimension.
The floors and walls are grey, made of local limestone; the cement ceilings are crossed by ribs arranged in opposing rays.
The setting is particularly evocative, not only for its strong and innovative design, but also for the variety and complexity of the cultural and typological references, perfectly consistent with the origin and nature of the pieces that make up the “Treasure of the Cathedral of Genoa”.