The Basilica di San Domenico has a wealth of history and art – more than any other church in Bologna. St. Domenico of Guzman, the Spanish founder of the Order of Preachers (also known as the Dominican Order or the Dominicans), arrived in Bologna around the year 1200 and purchased San Nicolò delle Vigne church and vicarage, where the Basilica now stands. After his death in 1221, the monks decided to build a bigger church, where they could honour St. Domenico. His remains are preserved in the chapel of San Domenico inside a marble ark. The marvellous ark is considered one of the finest examples of Italian Plastic Art and is embellished with sculptures made by Nicola Pisano on the urn (1267), Alfonso Lombardi on the predella (1532) and G.B. Boudard on the antependium (1768). It's surmounted by a magnificent marble cymatium modeled by Niccolò da Puglia, also known as "dell'Arca", in 1469-73.
The Basilica overlooks Piazza San Domenico and features a sober Romanesque façade. The Renaissance Ghisilardi Chapel designed by Baldassarre Peruzzi stands on its side.
The inside of the Basilica was restored between 1727-32 by Carlo Francesco Dotti, who merged the two ancient medieval structures into a single bright building displaying precious works of art by Guercino (S. Tommaso), Luca Cambiaso (Nativity), Filippino Lippi (Sposalizio mistico di S. Caterina), Lodovico Carracci (San Raimondo) and Giunta Pisano (Crucifix).
Other features of interest are the angel-shaped candle holder by Michelangelo, the statues of St. Petronius and St. Procolus (at the back), the dazzling chapel decorations (Glorificazione di S. Domenico – St. Domenico's glorification by Guido Reni), the evocative cloisters and San Domenico’s cell. The Renaissance wooden choir carved by Fra' Damiano da Bergamo (1528-51) was defined as the 8th Wonder of the World by contemporaries and was also admired by Charles V.
Source: Curia Arcivescovile and Le Chiese di Bologna (L'Inchiostroblu)
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From Monday to Friday 9.00am - 12.00pm and 3.30pm - 6.00 pm; Saturday 9.00am - 12.00pm and 3.30pm - 5.00pm and Sunday 3.30pm - 5.00pm. During the religious services, the tourist visit could be limited or suspended. Opening times can be subjected to little changes. For further information please call: Curia Arcivescovile tel. 051 6480611.