Basilicas of Bologna
Basilica of San Petronio
Among the most important and main basilicas of Bologna, the Basilica of San Petronio is a compulsory stop during your city tour.
Located in the central Piazza Maggiore, the church takes its name from the patron saint of the city and is the sixth biggest basilica in Europe, the fourth biggest basilica in Italy - or third, if we exclude Saint Peter- and the biggest church in brick, in Gothic style, all over the world.
Construction of this famous basilica of Bologna began in the late 14th century and extended for about thirty years, despite the works were never completed as it can be inferred today, by the state of the facade.
Indeed, the bottom part is covered with white marble as foreseen in the initial design, while the upper part is still made with raw bricks.
Consisting of three large naves, the Basilica of San Petronio witnessed important historic events, among which the crowning of Emperor Charles V and two different sections of the Council of Trent.
Basilica of San Domenico
One of the basilicas of Bologna featuring the richest artistic heritage, the Basilica of San Domenico was built during the early 13th century by Saint Domenic of Guzman, founder of the Order of the Preaching Fathers – or Dominicans, from which it takes the name. Upon his death, the remains of the patriarch were preserved in the chapel of this famous basilica of Bologna, inside a marble ark, still considered one of the main examples of Italian plastic art, decorated further on with sculptures by Nicola Pisano.
The interiors of the Basilica of San Domenico are the result of restructuring works performed during the first half of the 18th century, however they still preserve works and paintings previously executed by great Italian artists like Guercino, Cambiaso and Carracci.
Basilica of Santo Stefano
A compulsory stop for those who wish to discover the artistic and cultural history of the basilicas of Bologna, the Basilica of Santo Stefano consists in reality of a series of buildings also known as ‘Sette Chiese’ (Seven Churches) facing the homonymous square.
As per tradition, this suggestive basilica of Bologna was designed by Saint Petronius, patron saint and during those times, archbishop of the city, in order to resemble the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
From the square, it is possible to see the elevations of the Chiesa del Crocifisso (Church of the Cross) which contains numerous art works and the crypt of Abate Marino, the Chiesa del Calvario (Calvary Church), containing a reproduction of Christ’s Sepulchre and the Church of San Vitale and San Agricola that contain the sarcophagi of the two saints from whom it takes the name.
Those who decide to visit this basilica of Bologna should also see the Cortile di Pilato, the Benedictine cloister and the Museum which preserves sculptures, paintings and famous works dating back to various historic periods.
Cathedral of Saint Peter
Of early-Christian age, the Cathedral of Saint Peter is one of the main places of cult of the city and seat of the Archdiocese since the late 16th century. Located in the city centre, near the Church of San Petronio, the current aspect of this basilica of Bologna must be attributed to the works performed during the early 17th century following a fire and, later on, an earthquake that occurred in the Middle Ages and damaged the structure.
The works performed eliminated the Gothic-Roman traces that were characterising the style and the Annunciazione (Annunciation) by Ludovico Carracci was added, a work of inestimable value that still attracts tourists visiting the city.