Basilica of Santa Margherita (Santa Margherita Ligure)

Church in Santa Margherita Ligure

Basilica Di Santa Margherita Ligure
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Dapa19

The Basilica of Santa Margherita Vergine e Martire, also known as the sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Rosa, is a Catholic place of worship situated in the municipality of Santa Margherita Ligure, in Piazza Caprera, within the metropolitan city of Genoa. This church serves as the parish seat of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia within the Rapallo-Santa Margherita Ligure vicariate of the diocese of Chiavari.

The present-day construction of the church dates back to 1658, marked by the laying of the first stone on the site where, as some unattributed writings suggest, a religious structure from the 13th century once stood. This earlier edifice coincided with the establishment of the parish during that era. The parish was later dissolved and incorporated into the community of the San Siro church located in the district of the same name. In 1646, it was reconstituted by Cardinal Stefano Durazzo from the archdiocese of Genoa.

In 1666, by the decree of Genoese Cardinal Stefano Spinola, the church was appointed as the archpriesthood and plebania. Its consecration was conducted on September 23, 1770, with Archbishop Giovanni Lercari of Genoa overseeing the solemn ceremony, as commemorated by a marble plaque positioned above the main entrance. The distinction of a minor basilica was conferred upon the church on January 26, 1951, through an apostolic brief from Pope Pius XII.

Devotion to the Virgin Mary and Saint Margaret is integral to the basilica’s history. The origins of the veneration toward Our Lady of the Rose can be traced to the Middle Ages, when sailors brought a Marian image to the village of San Margheri. This wooden representation portrays the Virgin Mary cradling the Child Jesus on her left arm while holding a rose in her right hand. Various historical documents, including the earliest dating back to 1311, attest to the deep connection the coastal population had with this effigy from ancient times.

In 1672, coinciding with the construction of the new place of worship, the revered image was placed on a side altar, presently dedicated to the Madonna del Rosario. Later, on February 25, 1756, it found its home in a marble tabernacle above the main altar, where it remains situated. A significant event took place thirty years later, with the coronation ceremony occurring on July 25, 1776.

Devotions to both Our Lady of the Rose and Saint Margaret of Antioch are celebrated annually. The title of Nostra Signora della Rosa is commemorated each May, on the fifth Sunday after Easter. Similarly, the titular feast of Saint Margaret of Antioch, which is the primary celebration of the parish community and the city’s patron saint, takes place on July 20. This occasion involves a procession within the historic center, accompanied by the ringing of bells and a fireworks display along the promenade.

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Visiting Basilica of Santa Margherita (Santa Margherita Ligure)

Address: Nostra Signora della Rosa, Piazza Caprera, Santa Margherita Ligure, Metropolitan City of Genoa, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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