Church of Santa Maria della Vita

The monumental site of Santa Maria della Vita, is the most important example of Baroque architecture in Bologna. It includes the Sanctuary, which houses the largest collection of terracotta sculptures of the Italian Renaissance, the Compianto sul Cristo Morto by Niccolò dell’Arca; the Oratorio dei Battuti, which houses the Transito della Vergine by Alfonso Lombardi, and the Museum of Health, situated in the old Santa Maria Della Vita hospital.


This church was founded in the second half of the 13th century by the confraternity "Battuti of S. Maria della Vita" which is one of the first confraternities emerged in Italy after the flourishing of the movement of the Disciplinati in 1260 in Perugia on the impulse of Raniero Fusani. Besides the flagellation's practice the members provided assistance to pilgrims and invalids in the adjacent hospital which is now disappeared.


The church - which is owed to the title of sanctuary- was enlarged between 1454 and 1502 and reconstructed at the end of the 17th century by the architecte G. B. Bergonzoni after a ruinous cave-in of the roof in 1686. The dome was built on the plan of Giuseppe Tubertini. The interior has an elegant and airy design and was built on an elliptic plane where the famous plastic group of the "Pietà" (Compianto del Cristo Morto) is to be admired, since it is one of the most vigorous and expressive masterpieces of the Italian sculpture, moulded by Nicolò dell'Arca in the second half of '400.


On the high altar there is the fresco "Madonna della Vita" dated back to the second half of the 14th century. (description from the site of Curia Arcivescovile)


The Church is part of the the cultural, artistic and museum itinerary Genus Bononiae. Musei nella Città.


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Church of Santa Maria della Vita

Via Clavature, 10 - 40124 Bologna (BO) map Phone +39 051 230260 (Complesso Santa Maria della Vita)
Map coordinates [?]: D-4

How to get here:

by bus: lines and timetables on the website

by car: located in restricted traffic zone ZTL. Ring road exits No 11/11bis-12 , direction city center

Entrance notes:


Opening time:

Sanctuary and "Compianto": Tuesday to Sunday  10.00am - 7.00pm Closed > Mondays.