The origins of the building, founded by St. Petronius, date to the 5th century. A church that housed the Order of Canons Lateran of San Giovanni in Monte until 1418 was re-built on the foundations of the primitive structure in 1208. In 1537, the parish priest of the church, who was a devotee of St. Lucy, welcomed St. Francis Xavier's Apostolate of the Indies that a large number of Jesuit priests joined in 1548. They settled in several nearby houses and afterwards, with Pope Pius IV's papal bull of 1562, took possession of the church and parish. The adjacent Collegio di Santa Lucia was built in 1570 and entrusted to the same Jesuits who, five years later, extended and embellished the church, which was then consecrated by the Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti (1522-1597). In 1623, works began to rebuild the building that, as usual, had to draw inspiration from the Church of the Gesù in Rome. It was the architect Giovan Battista Aleotti (1546-1636) who executed the first drawings, but the final project, which followed the precise requirements set by the priests, was probably of the Rome architect Girolamo Rainaldi (1570-1655). The works slowly progressed and continued until the early 18th century, with the façade left unfinished. In the meantime, the Jesuits had acquired all the houses located between the church and Via Cartoleria and also built the convent, college, schools, library and portico on the street. When the Society of Jesus was abolished in 1773, the entire complex was passed on to the Barnabites. With the Napoleon's suppression, they retained only the church that was used, following the establishment of the Kingdom of Italy, as a military barracks in 1874, then used as a gym of the nearby Galvani secondary school, and as a laboratory of the Aldini Valeriani industrial technical high school. After warding off the danger of a full-scale transformation planned by reckless projects of the early 20th century, the church was restored in 1986-88 and converted into a large lecture hall of the University of Bologna.