San Rocco’s Tower and Oratory
In the heart of the oldest historical center of Lerici, overlooking the main square, home to artistic and cultural events and the main gathering place for all year, there are the Oratory and the Tower of San Rocco.
Together they form one of the symbols of the community of Lerici, but their origins are very different. The tower probably dates back to Roman times and was founded as a watch tower, while the oratory was built in 1287, modifying the existing hostel that welcomed the pilgrims who arrived in the port directed to Rome along the Via Francigena.
The old tower was transformed into a bell tower during the Sixteenth century, together with the expansion of the adjacent oratory, already dedicated to St. Martin and St. Christopher as testified by the plaque on the tower dedicated to San Rocco in 1524, protector of plague victims, following the great epidemic that hit the country in that year. The tower was then modified by the addition of a belfry and the octagonal oriental-style spire, that characterizes it and makes it unique and recognizable.
The visit inside will reveal a single nave with four side chapels, guarding some valuable paintings, including one by Domenico Fiasella. In the tower, however, there is the emblem of Genoa that indicated the entrance to the port, with a function similar to that of the famous “Lantern” in Genoa
Like a witness looking over the village, nowadays the Oratorio and Tower remain deeply attached to their role as a lookout and pinnacle.
Source: Trame di Lunigiana