Treasure Museum of St. Lorenzo Cathedral
The Museum is housed in medieval underground rooms, specifically the crypt of the St. Lorenzo Cathedral, which were carefully modified by the architect Franco Albini in 1956, to create a unique example of modern museography. The atmospheric space offers a veritable treasure trove of medieval, Renaissance and Baroque gold and silverware.
The objects can be divided into three categories: religious relics and the containers in which they are held, that is reliquaries; secondly, objects and works of art related to the veneration of St. John the Baptist, proclaimed patron of Genoa in 1327; and finally liturgical furnishings made or donated to the cathedral over the centuries and used in the most important religious ceremonies.
Among the most famous pieces there is the so-called Sacro Catino, wrapped in mystery and legend: tradition would have it that it is the Holy Grail, the dish used by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper. It was thought that the green glass was actually precious emerald!
Treasure Museum of St. Lorenzo Cathedral is a modest collection, but boasts a good number of items that are truly exceptional in terms of their rarity and preciousness.
Among the works that deserve special mention there is first of all the Sacred “Catino” (a shallow bowl or plate), once believed to be made of emerald, but is in fact an exceptional example of Middle Eastern glassware; then the Cross of the Zacharias, an ornate crucifix in which a relic of the true Cross is set. Among the works related to the veneration of St. John the Baptist is the so-called Plate of St John the Baptist and the extraordinary processional “ark” used to house his ashes.
Among the liturgical furnishigs, the magnificent processional Ark of Corpus Domini, the large altar frontal called of the Corpus Domini, and the statue of the Immacolata, all works entirely in silver and of remarkable size, a fact which adds to their value.
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