Basilica di San Petronio

Basilica in Bologna

Basilica Di San Petronio Bologna
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Vanni Lazzari

Situated in Piazza Maggiore, the Basilica of San Petronio holds great significance as the largest and most prominent church in Bologna. It is dedicated to the city’s patron saint, San Petronio.

The construction of the basilica commenced in 1390 under the supervision of Antonio di Vincenzo. A noteworthy proposal was put forward by Arduino degli Arriguzzi in 1514, suggesting a Latin-cross model that would have surpassed the size of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. However, according to legend, Pope Pius IV intervened, preventing its realization and instead advocating for the construction of the Archiginnasio. As a result, the facade of San Petronio remained incomplete, with partial marble covering added by Giacomo Ranuzzi starting from 1538. The interior, completed in different stages, features three naves that open up to twenty-two chapels adorned by notable artists such as Francesco Francia, Lorenzo Costa, Parmigianino, and Donato Credi.

One of the renowned features of San Petronio is its Music Chapel, founded in 1436, making it the oldest musical institution in Bologna. Its most esteemed symbol is an organ, still in use, which was crafted by Lorenzo da Prato around 1470, making it the world’s oldest functioning organ. The Chapel of the Three Wise Men, also known as Bolognini, captivates visitors with its lavish frescoes by Giovanni da Modena, depicting scenes representing “Heaven” and “Hell.”

Another notable highlight within the basilica is the sundial created by the astronomer Cassini. This sundial holds the distinction of being the longest in the world, measuring an impressive 67.27 meters.

The Basilica di San Petronio appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Bologna!

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Visiting Basilica di San Petronio


Every day from 8.30am to 1.00pm and from 3.00pm to 6.30pm

During the religious services, the tourist visit could be limited or suspended


San Petronio: Free, San Petronio photo ticket: € 2,00, Cappella dei magi: € 5,00 / € 3,00, Museum: Free

Address: Basilica di San Petronio, Piazza Maggiore, Bologna, Metropolitan City of Bologna, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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