The Basilica of San Petronio, dedicated to the city's patron saint, is located in Piazza Maggiore and is the largest and most important church in Bologna.
Its construction began in 1390 under the supervision of Antonio di Vincenzo. In 1514, Arduino degli Arriguzzi suggested a new Latin-cross model that would have been larger than St. Peter's Basilica in Rome but, according to legend, Pope Pius IV blocked its construction and insisted on the erection of the Archiginnasio instead. The façade also remained unfinished, being only partly covered in marble by Giacomo Ranuzzi starting from 1538. The interior, completed in different eras, is divided into three naves, which open onto twenty-two chapels decorated by artists, including Francesco Francia, Lorenzo Costa, Parmigianino and Donato Credi.
Famous is the Music Chapel of San Petronio, the oldest musical institution in Bologna (1436), whose most prestigious symbol is a still functioning organ, which, built around 1470 by Lorenzo da Prato, is the oldest in the world still in use. The Chapel of the Three Wise Men (IV) or Bolognini, is also very popular among visitors. Its walls were sumptuously frescoed by Giovanni da Modena with scenes representing “Heaven” and “Hell”.
The sundial by the astronomer Cassini is also well-known and is the longest in the world, measuring 67.27 metres.
Telephone: +39 051231415
- Art & Culture
The Museum of St. Petronio
The museum was open in 1894 following a project by Tito Azzolini and contains very interesting collections: the drawings and the architectural projects for the façade of the Basilica of St. Petronio - by well-known architects such as Il Vignola, Domenico Tibaldi, Andrea Palladio, Francesco Terribilia, etc. - goldsmith’s art, church furnishings, illuminated graduals and antiphonaries, musical editions.
For more information, visit the website.
The Bell Tower
The Basilica of San Petronio also has a bell tower. Built in the 15th century by Giovanni da Brensa, it is 62 metres high and rises to the height of the eleventh chapel to the right of the church. One of its four bells is called "the schoolgirl" (la scolara), because it marked the beginning of the university lessons at the Archiginnasio.
|Monday||8:30am - 12:30pm / 3:00pm - 6:00pm|
|Tuesday||8:30am - 12:30pm / 3:00pm - 6:00pm|
|Wednesday||8:30am - 12:30pm / 3:00pm - 6:00pm|
|Thursday||8:30am - 12:30pm / 3:00pm - 6:00pm|
|Friday||8:30am - 12:30pm / 3:00pm - 6:00pm|
|Saturday||8:30am - 12:30pm / 3:00pm - 6:00pm|
|Sunday and holidays||8:30am - 12:30pm / 3:00pm - 6:30pm|
Christmas: 7:45am - 1:00pm / 3:00pm - 7:00pm
During the religious services, the tourist visit could be limited or suspended (Mass time schedule here)
Saturdays and Sundays 10am-1pm; 3pm-6pm (last entrance 45' prior closing time)
Visit time: 30'. Timetables would change for special events.
Reservation is mandatory for groups.
Every day 9:30am - 12:30pm / 3:00pm - 6:00pm
Tuesday to Saturday 10:00am - 12:30pm / 2:30pm - 5:30pm
Sunday 2:30pm - 5:30pm
Usually not open to the public
At the entrance, Police controls are possible of backpacks and bags. In case of visit it is advisable not to bring large backpacks and bags with you