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Visiting Ventimiglia, Liguria, Italy, and its Sant' Agostino church: sedate building with 15th century origins

Updated on February 19, 2016
Flag of Italy
Flag of Italy | Source
San Agostino parish church in Ventimiglia
San Agostino parish church in Ventimiglia | Source

Architectural and cultural riches

This sedate, ecclesiastical structure in Ventimiglia, is situated in Italy's Liguria region.

Some history and features

It has its origins in a 15th century convent (1) (which also developed into a monastery), although a 14th century chapel stood on the present site.

The main frontage of the church building, which faces via Cavour, in Downtown Ventimiglia, is conspicuous by its horizontal, striped stonework, a motif which is continued in the design of the prominent tower. Another significant feature is its arched main doorway.

When floodlit at night, this frontage looks especially imposing.

The building complex, sometimes described as Late Gothic in style, in which arching is significant, suffered damage in an earthquake in 1887 and again in World War Two, when it was hit by aerial bombardment on August 12, 1944. The most recent program of repairs which the building underwent was completed in 1958.

This parish church is known for a strong, musical tradition. In recent years, choir and orchestra performances have included works by Palestrina, Mascagni, Vivaldi, Gounod, Brahms, Couperin and many others.

Another feature — indeed, a priceless possession — of the church and monastery is its library, which contains a wealth of rare books.

When I passed this fine building, I was struck by the amount of visitors which it evidently attracts. Via Cavour , on which the church of Sant' Agostino is situated at no. 55, is one of the main arteries of Downtown Ventiliglia, and the church building is not far from the intersection of Via Cavour with Via della Repubblica ; the edifice is thus very centrally located.


(1) The convent was suppressed for a while after the French Revolution (even beyond the borders of France, waves of militant secularism swept adjoining countries).

Map location of Liguria, Italy
Map location of Liguria, Italy | Source

Also worth seeing

In Ventimiglia itself, other significant ecclesiastical architecture includes the Medieval Cathedral, and the San Michele church. The city's main municipal building, the Palazzo comunale , is built in Rationalist style. Remains of a Roman amphitheatre and the Hanbury Gardens are popular with visitors.

Balzi Rossi (distance: 8.2 kilometres) has been the scene of much archeological activity.


How to get there:

Alitalia flies to Genoa (Aeroporto di Genova ); there are rail links from Genoa to Ventimiglia. The nearest sizable international airport to Ventimiglia is Nice, France (Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur ). Delta Airlines flies direct from New York to Nice. The French railroad company SNCF serves stations between Nice and Ventimiglia (French: Vintimille ). For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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