The gothic-style giant basilica of the list of places to visit in Bologna is the 15th largest church in the world, with a length of up to 132 meters and a width of 66 meters. Its construction started in 1390, but the church is not yet completed. Just like Barcelona’s most famous structure, La Sagra da Familia, its exterior appearance is unfinished today. It is a church dedicated to St. Petronius, who lived in the 5th century, one of the important figures in the history of Bologna. The Basilica of San Petronio was built with great money and effort to show the strength of the Bologna commune.
San Petronio Basilica
In 1388, the architect Antonio di Vincenzo was commissioned to build the church, and the foundations for the construction were laid in 1390. Other projects were canceled in order for the Gothic style church to be magnificent enough. The façade and some of the chapels were completed in 1393. The construction of these chapels was only completed in 1479. In 1514, another architect proposed to build a larger church based on the famous St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, but the Pope did not approve such a large structure. After the Pope’s objection, the construction of the church did not go as planned.
The current marble façade of the church was made by Giacomo Ranuzzi, but he could not complete it. Sculptures and decorations by famous artists Jacopo della Quercia, Amico Aspertini and Alfonso Lombardi have been added to the completed part. Inside the church there are 23 chapels dedicated to different saints.
The main entrance was designed by Jacopo della Quercia and features scenes from the Bible. There is a giant sundial on the eastern façade of the basilica. Gian Cassini and Domenico Gugliemi, who designed this giant sundial in 1656, discovered anomalies in the Julian calendar, and this discovery led to the concept of the year.
- Address: Corte De’ Galluzzi 12/2, 40124 Bologna, Italy
- Visiting hours: 07.45 – 18.30
- Nearby Places: Teatro Anatomico, Archiginnasio di Bologna