Must see attractions of Bologna only a few steps from Corona D’Oro
Piazza Maggiore is the main piazza (square) of Bologna. It was originally built on a grass field; in 1200, the city started to acquire houses and lands to construct a square that would represent the importance of the city institution as well as reunite various activities (commercial and services). The square, as it is today, is the result of numerous transformations that began from the XIII century and intended to give the city its symbolic center, which it still preserves today.
Basilica di San Petronio
San Petronio is the main church of Bologna: it dominates Piazza Maggiore, and in spite of being unfinished, it is the sixth largest church in Europe. The construction began in 1390 under the direction of Antonio di Vincenzo. In 1514, Arduino degli Arriguzzi proposed a new Latin cross model that would have made the church bigger than Saint Peter’s Church in Rome. According to legend, Pope Pius IV blocked the construction of this over-ambitious dream, demanding the workers to build Archiginnasio.
The two towers: Asinelli and Garisenda
The symbol of Bologna, the two towers are strategically located in the entrance point of the ancient city on Via Emilia. The Asinelli tower, erected in 1119 by Gherardo Asinelli, a nobleman from the Ghibellini family; it is 97,20 meters tall and houses 498-step stair case; it leans 2,32 meters westward. The Garisenda Tower, erected in the XII century by the noblemen Garisenda and Ghibellini, is 48, 60 meters tall and leans 3,22 meters northeastward. During Dante period, the sonnet cites the Garisenda tower of 1278 and in canto XXXI of the Inferno, the tower was given another 60 meters in height.
Piazza Santo Stefano Church Complex
It is the most unique complex of Bologna, a genuine and true city sanctuary. The origins of the complex, also known as “sette chiese” (seven churches), are particularly controversial. Built on an ancient pagan temple, the complex was ought to be a devoted copy of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; through the centuries, the complex saw a series of expansions that brought not only one but seven churches, and one of these churches became famous for an unexpected discovery that required an “extraordinary” intervention from the pope. A legend attributes the foundation of the complex to a Bolognese bishop Petronio, who would have wanted to reproduce and dedicate to Santo Stefano (Saint Stephen) the locations of the Passion of Christ.
Santa Maria della Vita and the Complianto Morto of Nicolò dell’Arca
The Church of Santa Maria della Vita was founded in the second half of the XIII century by the Battuti or Flagellati Confraternity, the name derives from the confraternity brothers’ habit of whipping the body as punishment. The “Compianto del Cristo Morto” (Lamentation of Christ), is made of seven terracotta statues, a work of sculptor Nicolò dell’Arca (dated from 1463 to 1464), as well as his most celebrated work, the marble statues arch of San Domenico Church. “Compianto del Cristo Morto” has seven figures on foot: Nicodemo, Madonna, San Giovanni Apostolo, Maria Maddalena, two other Marys, and the dead Christ, lying on a catafalque with his head resting on a pillow.
Pinacoteca Nazionale (National Gallery)
The Pinacoteca of Bologna offers a panoramic view of Emilian paintings from the XIII to XVIII century; nevertheless without the lack of fundamental masterpieces from non-Bolognese artists who had direct contacts but not with the city. Among the most modern and important National Galleries, the Pinacoteca of Bologna opened to the public in 1885. Totally renovated in 1997, the Pinacoteca today houses more than 30 exhibit rooms: Fine Arts rooms and modernly equipped spaces in the basement, as well as hosting temporary exhibitions of medium and big projects, educational activities, seminars, and conventions.
San Luca Sanctuary
Located in the Colle della Guardia hills, the sanctuary is one of the symbols of Bologna. With more than 600 continuous arch porticos, the only one in the world with almost four kilometers (3,796 m) in length, connect the sanctuary to the city and is an important part of the procession every year since 1433 that brings the Byzantine Mary and Child to the cathedral during the week of Ascension. The sanctuary history is connected to the icon that safeguards from within, which gave the origins on the foundation of the sanctuary itself and established its faith for many centuries, making it a pilgrimage site.
The porticos of Bologna represent an important architectural and cultural patrimony of the city; they are the symbol of Bologna along with the numerous towers. In 2006, the porticos are inserted in the Italian Tentative List of sites to become a UNESCO World Heritage Patrimony. Rain or snow, summer heat or wind, the porticos of Bologna, with a length of almost 40 kilometers, decorate this unique city, allowing comfortable strolls in the city center, shopping, going from one museum to another, and a haven for every season.
Museo Civico Archeologico, Teatro Anatomico, Biblioteca Sala Borsa, Fontana del Nettuno, Piazza San Domenico, Teatro Comunale, Piazza e Basilica di San Francesco, Complesso Monumentale di San Giovanni in Monte, Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica, Quadrilatero, Cattedrale di San Pietro, Corte Isolani, Palazzo della Mercanzia, Museo della Storia di Bologna a Palazzo Pepoli, Palazzo Fava, and Museo della Memoria di Ustica (1,5 km) hosts temporary international exhibitions, Museo del Patrimonio Industriale (1,6 km), Mambo (Museo d'Arte Moderna), MAST (4 km).