The Church of Santa Maria della Vita was founded in the second half of the 13th century by the Congregation of Battuti or Flagellati, whose name derived from their custom of flagellating themselves for penitence. The Congregation was one of the first in Italy that followed the Organization of the Disciplinati (or disciplined ones), established in Perugia in 1260 by Raniero Fasani. Members mainly devoted themselves to charitable activities, so much so that they built a hospital and church (Santa Maria della Vita) in 1287.
The church, which is actually a shrine, was extended between 1454 and 1502 and rebuilt at the end of the 17th century by architect G. B. Bergonzoni after the ceiling collapsed in 1686. The dome was designed by Giuseppe Tubertini and built in 1787. The inside of the building features an elliptic layout and an elegant open style, and is home to the famous Compianto del Cristo Morto (Lamentation over the Dead Christ), a masterpiece of Italian sculpture. The piece was sculpted by Niccolò dell'Arca during the second half of the 15th century. On the high altar there is a fresco dating back to the second half of the 14th century portraying “Madonna della Vita”.
(Source: Curia Arcivescovile and Le Chiese di Bologna (L'Inchiostroblu))
Santa Maria della Vita has been managed by Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Bologna since 2006 and at present is part of the cultural, artistic and museum itinerary Genus Bononiae. Musei nella Città.
full € 4; reduction € 2 (school, groups of min. 15 people, holders of an admission ticket of another Genus Bononiae museum, special conventions (Tper, Coop, Alitalia, Dante Alighieri), visitors from 6 to 18 years old, University students) free: children up to 5 years old, the disabled with helper, tourist guide with professional badge, Police, holders of Membership Card Genus Bononiae, holders ofCard Musei Metropolitani Bologna,holders of Bologna Welcome card, Residents with ID card – EVERY WEDNESDAY
COMPIANTO + MUSEUM AND ORATORY
full € 8; reduction € 5 (school, groups of min. 15 people, holders of an admission ticket of another Genus Bononiae museum, special conventions (Tper, Coop, Alitalia, Dante Alighieri), visitors from 6 to 18 years old, University students) free: children up to 5 years old, the disabled with helper, tourist guide with professional badge, Police, holders of Membership Card Genus Bononiae
The museum is located in a consecrated church that must respect the times of the Mass. The entrance does not present any difficulty for the hearing impaired.
In the church work is in progress for the creation of descriptive panels for the chapel and the altar.
On the second floor there is the oratory from the imposing architecture that houses the temporary exhibitions and the painting "Il transito della vergine" ("The transit of the virgin") introduced by hall panels.
More information can be obtained via QRcode and the history of the building can be downloaded from the website.
Motor disability and difficulty of movement
The monumental complex of Santa Maria della Vita as a whole is accessible to everyone, but the visit to the famous Compianto sul Cristo Morto (Lamentation of the Dead Christ) by Niccolò dell'Arca is not accessible to people in wheelchairs or with serious problems of mobility.
Four consecutive steps, without a handrail nor aids to overcome them, must be taken to reach the sculptural group, placed to the right of the altar.