Superb palace built in the old Strà (street) S. Donato, thus attesting the social rise of the Magnani family present in Bologna since the 13th century. The family name recalls the profession of ‘magnano’, namely blacksmith, soon discarded for much more profitable banking activities, which soon won the senatorial class and important political offices for the family.
Over a five-arch arcade supported by ashlar columns, a sequence of composite ashlar pilasters is displayed, framing windows with balcony in the piano nobile and the simple squared windows on the third floor. The late Renaissance front, recalling Ruini palace by Palladio, is attributed to architect Domenico Tibaldi, and it would be later reproduced in the Zani and Dall'Armi palaces from Floriano Ambrosini's drawing. The building site opened in 1577, and around 1590, for the nomination of Lorenzo Magnani to the senatorial seat, the Carracci painted the magnificent frieze with Stories of the foundation of Rome in the senatorial hall. After the decoration of Fava palace, this is the second and more mature collective endeavour of the Carracci painters in town, thus preceding the Roman masterpieces, such as the gallery of Farnese Palace. Ambrosini, who completed the palace after Tibaldi's death in 1583, is also attributed the monumental fireplace in the same hall surmounted by Annibale Carracci's fresco of Ludi Lupercali. At both sides, the figures of Mars and Minerva in stucco modelled by Gabriele Fiorini. The Frescoes Rooms and Carracci Room are now used as offices.Several rooms next to the open gallery house now the Collection of ancient and modern art of UniCredit Banca (former Rolo Banca 1473) with masterpieces from the 16th to the 20th centuries (works by D. Dossi, L. Carracci, Guercino, G. M. Crespi, G. Morandi).
The imposing coat-of-arms of the Malvezzi Campeggi, the family owning the palace in the 19th century, stands out in top of the façade