The museum complex

The Museum is housed in an Augustinian convent dating back to the 13th century, which also includes a church: the sole great 13th-century churches in Genoa which fully maintained its Gothic appearance. A project for the restoration and re-integration of the church into the museum is ongoing, with the purpose to safeguard its function also as a public venue for shows, conferences, and temporary exhibitions.
The exhibition is arranged in the wide rooms of the monastery, built around two triangular cloisters (one of which late medieval) and one quadrangular from the 17th century. All have been restored and refurbished by the Studio Albini-Helg-Piva between 1977 and 1992. At the moment, only the triangular cloister and the Gothic church are open.
The Museum of St. Augustine is the main museum of Ligurian sculpture and the only museum taking visitors on a journey to the world of Genoese sculpture between the Middle Ages and modern times (though some suggestive digressions on the French, Roman, Lombard, Tuscan cultural sphere are included). Its collections are also rich in detached frescoes and monumental paintings, which make the visit structured, varied and full of cross-references. The Painting Section was opened in 2009, housing wooden pieces which date from the end of the 13th century to the early 16th century. In keeping with the overall theme of the exhibition, the Section also connects different types of art, hosting stone and wooden sculptures, ceramics, and furniture.
The ceramic section was opened in 2010, essentially dedicated to showing the commercial and cultural exchanges between the shores of the Mediterranean, through the precious pieces on display.
Since it was first opened in 1939, before the heavy damage suffered during the war, the museum was significantly named “Museum of Ligurian Architecture and Sculpture”, because many of the artefacts come from the main buildings – predominantly religious, including the two main monastic complexes of the city, San Francesco di Castelletto and San Domenico – that disappeared over the centuries. The visit of the museum thus refers to spaces and structures that no longer exist, but which have been key to the history and culture of Genoa.
The museum is, therefore, a true “gateway” to the historical centre of Genoa, the largest in Europe.