SAN BERNARDINO Gate

Descending along the walls towards the Bisagno Valley, before the curtain turns eastwards as far as the right-angled bastion of Lavagna, one encounters the Porta di S. Bernardino (St. Bernardino’s Gate), which takes its name from a small church located inside the walls, a few dozen metres from its entrance.
Its architectural features are almost identical to those already seen in Porta Chiappe. Coming from the city, one reaches the wide, low arched exit of the gate by climbing up one of the two ramparts that join about twenty metres in front of it. The first of these two crôse originally ran almost straight up from the Porta dell’Acquasola, and is still almost intact today, except for a first stretch near Piazza Corvetto and some alterations to the route around Piazza Manin, while of the second, which until the beginning of the 19th century ran with wide curves from Portello, only the last two hundred metres remain, from the Church of S. Maria della Sanità to San Bernardino. According to the surveys left to us by Codeviola, the gate consisted of a simple gallery covered by a lowered barrel vault, about 23 palms wide (5.75 metres), with two stone benches along the two side walls and opened at both ends by two portals of the same width of 9 palms (about 2.25 metres).

On the upper floor, at the height of the embankment of the walls, a vast sentry box similar to the one at Porta Chiappe was set up, and on the opposite side a “quarter” for the guards, in this case keeping the two volumes separate so that the “cannon road”, laid out together with the construction of the New Walls, would not be interrupted at the gate as was the case at Chiappe and Angeli. With the exception of the sentry box, which was demolished only at the beginning of the last war, in the nineteenth-century arrangement, all of this first floor was levelled, giving greater importance to the continuity of the ramparts and its service road. The interior of the gallery, perhaps due to the excessive dampness of the walls, was narrowed with two thin diaphragm walls and interrupted at about 2/3 of its length by two large reinforcing buttresses. As with the Porta Chiappe, the new arrangement lowered the floor level by about one metre and consequently also the impost of the outer arch. The front facing the countryside, once perhaps very simple, was enhanced with the insertion of two strong vertical pilasters in iron bricks closed by an archivolt which still hides the stone corbels of the original sentry box. Unlike Porta Chiappe, the new arrangement was much more organic and refined, although the parts made during the last intervention can easily be guessed at, especially by the differentiation of the terracotta on the old stone masonry.


(Taken from “Le Fortificazioni di Genova” by Leone Carlo Forti)

MAPPA PORTA SAN BERNARDINO