Elected among the “most beautiful villages in Italy”, Cervo is a small medieval town in the province of Imperia, which proudly dominates the Mediterranean Sea.

The castle, the Castello dei Clavesana illustrates the medieval past of the town. First a fortified church dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria, the building became the palace of the Marquises of Clavesana in the 13th century.

During the following centuries, the castle served as an oratory and then as a hospital for the knights of Rhodes. It now houses an ethnographic museum.

The picturesque pedestrian streets are framed by yellow and pink facades. Palaces can be guessed behind the colorful but nevertheless severe facades, such as the Palazzo Morchio, the Palazzo del Duca or the Palazzo Viale-Citati.

The magnificent church overlooking the sea, San Giovanni Battista, is a major monument of the Baroque style of the Italian West Coast. It is affectionately referred to as the “Coral Church” (“dei corallini”) because local fishermen largely contributed to its erection in the 17th and 18th centuries, thanks to the wealth amassed through the coral trade.

Its construction project was entrusted in 1686 to the architect Gio Batta Maravaldi, but he died in 1706 before the completion of his work. It was his son Giacomo Filippo Marvaldi who succeeded him until the completion of the building site in 1722.

The official consecration of the church did not take place until 1736 and other works were still carried out in the following years, in particular the interior stuccos from 1757 to 1763, the decoration of the facade by Michele Mazzetti in 1768 and the construction of the bell tower in 1771.

The interior of the church consists of an impressive single nave and side altars.

The organ, which dates from 1735, is the work of Father Agostino Torrelli, restored and enlarged in 1844.

The frescoes on the vault of the apse were made by the painter Francesco Carrega and the other paintings on the vault were restored after the earthquake in nearby Diano Marina in 1887.

August 5, 2022