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The Parish of San Maurizio in Imperia

One parish, many souls. San Maurizio (Saint Maurice) is first of all the saint who gave his name to one of the main areas of the town, Porto Maurizio. San Maurizio also gave his name to one of the area’s portions: the Cathedral at the Parasio. An important and dominating presence, a compact structure which by its very nature must be visible from all angles. It took around 18 years to complete the building, which was begun in 1781, suspended and recommenced forty years later, once the Liguria region was unified with the Kingdom of Sardinia. Work ended in 1828 and the church’s inauguration ten years later coincided with the demolition of the same-named parish church on the Parasio, dating back to 1462. The Cathedral’s figures speak for themselves. More than 3000 square metres of building, with a height of 48 metres and a rectangular base of 70 x 42 metres. Inside, it houses 236 columns, 22 pilasters and 11 altars. There are seven octagonal domes on the roof, the largest of which is located above the main altar and represents one of the major architectural merits of the church, with its imposing diameter and approximately 50 metres’ height.

In 1993, Mons. Francesco Drago, then the parish priest of the Cathedral of San Maurizio, gave impetus for the current Centro Studi Leonardini, which follows in the footsteps of the previous fellowship, born during the sixties. Its purpose: to divulge knowledge and in-depth study of the works of San Leonardo from Porto Maurizio, the Patron Saint of Imperia. The New Centre, now with around 90 members, has inherited from the previous centre a precious legacy consisting of documents, photographs, research and studies. During these years, the Centre has organised exhibitions, competitions, conferences and conventions concerning the Saint, meetings and discussions on topical issues; refresher courses; religious celebrations; the publication of texts; guided tours and excursions to Leonardo sites both within and beyond the town.

[Ilaria GRIGOLETTO]

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