It’s the most particular church complex in Bologna, the real city sanctuary and the cradle of the Fathers’ faith. Rose around a first fifth-century settlement, wanted by bishop Petronio, that after would have been joint by a reproduction of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Santo Stefano stands next to the chapel with protomartyrs of Bologna Vitale and Agricola’s mortal remains, exhumated by Saint Ambrogio in 392, and it comprises buildings made between the X and the XIII century by the Benedectines. The complex represents a symbolic rebuilding of the Passion of Christ’s places, as the ancient denomination of the complex testifies: "Sacra Hierusalem".
The facades of Crocifisso (right), Calvario (center) and Ss. Vitale and Agricola (left) churches stand in the beautiful square. The first church hosts a crypt from 1019 and precious art works; the second church, has a round shape, is overlooked by the reproduction of Christ’s tomb (XII-XIV centuries) in which in past there was the urn with Saint Petronio’s remains, patron saint of Bologna, now conserved in Saint Petronio's Church. The third church, really well-known for its bare basilic structure, hosts the ancient graves of Saints Vitale and Agricola (interesting the capitals of various styles, coming from previous Roman and Byzantine buildings, and the remains of VI century mosaic floors).
Pilato’s courtyard is remarkable, with a marble basin offered by Liutprando and Ilprando, king of the Lombards, that considered Saint Stefano as their main religious centre. Then the Trinità church, restored between XII and XII century, where you can admire a precious crib made of painted and gold wood by Simone dei Crocifissi (XIV century). Of great appeal is the Benedectine cloister with a double open gallery (X-XIII century), one of the most splendid art works from Emilia’s Romanesque style. At last it is worth visiting the Museum that hosts paintings, sculptures and other art works from different periods.
The description is taken from the diocesan administration web site: http://www.bologna.chiesacattolica.it