The Chiesa di San Giovanni dei Genovesi is a fairly unknown church in the heart of the Trastevere district in Rome. It is dedicated to John the Baptist and was built at the end of the 15th century on the initiative of a merchant and nobleman from Genoa, called Meliaduce Cicala, who was also the treasurer of the Camera Apostilica.
San Giovanni dei Genovesi Church Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via Anicia, 12 – Rome (tel. +39 06 5812416). Opening hours: The church is only open during mass (Sundays and holidays at 11.00). The 15th century cloister can be visited on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 14.00 till 16.00 (summer) and from 15.00 till 18.00 (winter).
History and description
The church is located on the corner of the Via Anicia and the Via dei Genovesi. As the name of the street clearly testifies, in those days there were many Genovesi in Rome, mostly because of the presence of the then still existing harbor of Ripa Grande. The church and especially the hospital which was part of the church were meant to give assistance to sailors arriving in the Ripa Grande harbor.
After the sack of Rome in 1527 the hospital was forced to close down for a while, but thanks to Meliaduce‘s cousin Giovanni Battista Cicala and Pope Julius III the Confraternita di Giovanni Battista dei Genovesi was founded and for two centuries offered high-level medical treatment to sailors.
In the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries several restorations took place in the church. In 1737 the apse was added and in 1864 the facade was reconstructed. The coat-of-arms of the city of Genova can be seen above the entrance.
The most interesting part of a visit to the Chiesa di San Giovanni dei Genovesi is its cloister. There is a well in the middle and the walls are covered with graffiti written by the Genovese sailors and commenting on the quality of the hospital.
The funerary monument for Meliaduce Cicala can be found inside the church.
The church is usually closed for visitors, but it is possible to see the courtyard and a friendly chat with the guard might lead to short sight-seeing tour.
Works of art
- A “Baptism of Christ” by Nicolas Ragnier
- The Tabernacolo degli Oli Santi: A 15th century Florentine painting.