San Benigno

Together with the Lantern, another important point of reference was the convent of San Benigno. It is a mighty convent built between 1121 and 1142 by the Benedictine monks who owned the entire promontory. The abbey has been considered since the beginning one of the most important in Italy and went through a period of particular prestige in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
In the fourteenth century, problems related to the lack of monks, to the building maintenance and the asset management brought the building to a state of decline. Only in the sixteenth century it was taken over by the friars from the most flourishing monastery of San Gerolamo della Cervara, between Santa Margherita and Portofino.
The strategic position of the monastery influenced significantly its fate.
In 1513 Louis XII had the fortress of La Briglia built, just below the convent, forcing the monks to leave the site that became dangerous.
In 1527 Cesare Fregoso took over the French part and set up an army company to preside over the city. He settled in the convent until the Republic soldiers captured them.
The monastery remained isolated on the hill until 1630, when the plateau was included into the new walls that led from the Lantern to the Angeli area, assuming a new strategic role in the military defense.
The plague of 1657 almost entirely decimated the monks.
In 1798 the monastery was finally abandoned, following the laws suppressing convent orders.
The building,  at this point empty, partially abandoned, was used as an artillery warehouse. The bell tower was used as a signal station, called the "vigia di san Benigno", and finally, during the siege of Massena in 1800, it was used as a military hospital.
Only after the annexation of Liguria to Piedmont, it became a deposit of ammunition of the Sardinian army. In 1827 General Chiodo built a powerful defense, with a specific fortified building: during the popular uprising of March 1849 against Piedmont, General La Marmora bombed Genoa from this building. The following year flattened it to the ground and two huge military barracks were built in its place.
Today the whole area houses modern buildings, which no longer allow us to glimpse anything of the ancient promontory.