The Commenda di San Giovanni di Pré is part of a complex of buildings located in the Prè district, near Genova Principe railway station.
The core of the architectural body consists of two Romanesque-style churches, one on top of the other, with the upper church still open for worship today, and a two-storey building, which was elevated later and was used as a hospice, initially for pilgrims, soldiers and merchants and later for the city's sick and poor.
The start of construction dates back to 1180 and was commissioned by the Knights of St. John, an order founded at the time of the Crusades and known today as the Order of the Knights of Malta. The order ran a large network of similar places of refuge throughout Europe. Here in Genoa their presence was particularly significant, as it was the place where the “land routes” (connecting trade and pilgrims travelling between Genoa and Europe) and the “sea routes”, linking the city with the whole of the Mediterranean, were connected.
Having become the home of confraternities over the centuries and then subdivided into flats, the Commenda regained its original layout after major restoration work during the 20th century.
Between 2009 and 2020, these spaces housed the Museoteatro della Commenda.