San Nicolò’s cathedral
San Nicolò Cathedral is said to be one of the widest and most beautiful churches of the Ligurian Riviera; it stands in an elegant square, surrounded by trees and benches.
From the church yard – made of sea stones forming a mosaic – you can walk in through three big gates.
Above the three doors – with bronze panels – there are three statues, representing saint Nicolò, saint Peter and saint Paul.
Inside the church you can enjoy the whole space at a glance, since there is only one aisle – long, wide and high until the hip-roof vault, on which a medallion portraying Heaven is present.
In every single corner of the church – in the aisle and in the chancel, in the shrines and in the atrium – you can see lots of figures, symbols and varied decorations. However, this impressive whole does not convey a sense of heaviness, but instead of elegance and harmony, from any point you admire the temple.
It should be pointed out that all the paintings – both ornamental and figurative – are not temperas but frescoes, therefore colours, which were soaked into freshly made plaster, have remained indelible.
Figurative frescoes were made by the Genoese painter Luigi Sacco, who started to work on them in 1867. There are eight of them in the chancel and thirty-three in the aisle and in the shrines. One of them, namely the medallion portraying Heaven on the valut, has a surface area of 190 m2 and includes 33 characters.
The church was blessed on the day of its inauguration, 25th December 1791, and was consecrated one hundred years later, on 8th July 1891 by Monsignor Filippo Allegro, Diocesan Bishop with Monsignor Reggio Tomaso from Ventimiglia and Monsignor Giuseppe Marello Vescovo from Acqui.
The most important relics kept in the church are those of S. Croce, the “manna” of Saint Nicolò, and those of the saint martyrs taken from Sardinia on 5th October 1662 and that were elected Co-Patrons. The urns, which contained the 12 martyrs’ bones, were originally 6. On 29th September 1762 a new urn – probably the present one – was donated, but it couldn’t contain all the bones; so, the remaining ones were sealed in 4 urns, placed in the pediment of the apse, under the image of Saint Nicolò, together with the other relics.