Standing regally in Piazza Maggiore for hundreds of years, Basilica di San Petronio is one of the most visited places in the heart of Bologna. It was named after the patron saint of the city, San Petronio,who was the 8th Bishop of Bologna (431-450). The construction of the church started in 1390 but its main marble (a very rare material in the region around Bologna) facade remains unfinished up to now. It is the largest Gothic Church in the world.
The church houses 22 chapels. The most famous of them is the Chapel of the Magi (Chapel IV) formerly known as the Bolognini chapel. The Bolognini family commissioned Giovanni da Modena to do the paintings on the wall. The walls depict the story of the life of San Petronio, the Journey of the Three Kings/Magi, and the Heaven and Hell (from Dante Alighieri’s classic tale). To get access to this chapel and view the murals you need to make a donation of 3 euros.
Postcards with photos of the painting are also available in the souvenir shop.
Heaven and Hell:
The Journey of the Three Magi:
The other chapels are also grand and well-designed.
There are also some terracotta artworks for sale.
Photo-taking is allowed but you need to register and pay 2 euros at the reception.
The Basilica di San Petronio is usually open every day from 745am to 6pm.
You could download and listen to the informative and interesting audioguide here.