Presentation of the exhibition ‘Santa Maria del Priamàr, the vanished cathedral”

On Friday 17 March, at 5 p.m., the Rotary Club of Savona and the ‘Agostino De Mari’ Foundation invite to the presentation of the exhibition ‘Santa Maria del Priamàr, la cattedrale scomparsa’ (‘St. Mary of Priamàr, the vanished cathedral’), set up in the ‘Galleria della Curia’ in Piazza Vescovado, Savona (second Franciscan cloister).

The Assumption – Detail of the tympanum of the main door of the ancient cathedral.

The exhibition was set up by GBM Venturino, Riccardo Dabinovic, Ezio Filippi and Renato Chiarlone, supported by the contribution of the ‘Rotary Club of Savona’ and the ‘De Mari’ Foundation, with the collaboration of the Diocese of Savona. It will be open from 18 March to 24 April, every day, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The two dates, 18 March and 24 April, were not chosen at random: 18 March is the day of the patron saint’s feast, which commemorates the apparition of the Madonna to Antonio Botta, while 24 April 1543 was the last day the people of Savona were able to access the ancient cathedral, which was first closed inside the Fortress imposed by Genoa and finally demolished for military needs around 1595.

The exhibition follows a historical and informative thread with the aim of raising awareness of the architectural and artistic beauty lost in the oblivion of time and generations. This is thanks to one hundred and twenty panels and canvases covering an exhibition length of more than one hundred metres.

The initial part hints at the centuries-old difficult political and economic relations between Savona and Genoa, then moves on to the golden age of cathedrals, describing their construction styles from Romanesque to Gothic. This is followed by a part containing extracts of ancient maps with valid information: copies of the originals, as well as writings and translations of the parts relevant to Savona’s ancient cathedral are given in full or in part.

The sketch of the cathedral shown in a plan from the end of the 16th century (kept at the Genoa State Archives, the only drawing to date) and the updated plan of more than sixty years of archaeological excavations conducted in the cathedral area by the Istituto Internazionale di Studi Liguri are also shown. The theoretical reconstruction of the cathedral, supplemented by the descriptions in the documents, is based on them, with hypotheses of the external and internal configuration of the church by architect Gianni Venturino, which, albeit with doubts that remain largely unresolved, have achieved a good degree of acceptability, without claiming to be totally accurate.

The panels of the exhibition also illustrate the main works of art that were kept in the Priamàr cathedral, among which the 1:1 scale photographic reproduction of a precious polyptych dating back to 1345, once perhaps placed on the high altar of the Savona church and now in the French cathedral of Albi, is exhibited for the first time in Savona.

Architect Venturino, in addition to having personally taken care of all the graphics, coordinated the group of his three collaborators, who in part drew the interesting material on display thanks to the active and collaborative contribution of the Office for Cultural and Artistic Heritage of the Diocese of Savona, the International Institute of Ligurian Studies, the Savona Society of Local History, the University Library of Genoa, the Savona State Archive, the Bishop’s Seminary, the Confraternity of S. Maria di Castello and the ‘Barrili’ Public Library.




18 March to 24 April 2023

10 a.m. to 12 noon and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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