Basilica di San Petronio Tours

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Dedicated to the fifth-century bishop Petronius, who became Bologna’s patron saint, the Basilica di San Petronio dominates Piazza Maggiore in the heart of the city. One of the largest churches in the world and a soaring example of Gothic grandeur, the basilica Is a highlight of any Bologna city tour.
 
The Basics
Construction of the Basilica di San Petronio began in 1390, but renovations to enlarge the building were interrupted in the 1500s when its size threatened to overshadow St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The basilica’s façade was unfortunately left unfinished, but the interiors are beautifully realized, including the Cappella dei Magi, with sumptuous frescoes by Giovanni da Modena, rich stained glass, elegant carved marble, and the astronomer Cassini’s brass meridian line embedded in the floor of the eastern aisle. Visitors also enjoy panoramic views over the city from the terrace on the church roof, and stroll through the basilica’s museum to see precious artifacts, illuminated manuscripts, and vestments belonging to the church.
 
Basilica di San Petronio is the most important church in Bologna, and a highlight of any city walking or bike tour, along with attractions like Piazza Maggiore, the Two Towers, and the churches of Santo Stefano and San Domenico. Some travelers visit as part of a multi-day trip from Rome.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Bologna tours on foot or by bike are mostly outdoors, so be sure to dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes.
  • Large bags and backpacks are not allowed in the church.
  • Photography without flash is allowed inside, though not in the Cappella dei Magi.
  • The basilica is wheelchair accessible, but the rooftop terrace is not.
  • Visitors are required to wear modest attire that covers shoulders and knees.

How to Get There
The Basilica di San Petronio is located on Piazza Maggiore, the main square in the center of Bologna. The square is an easy walk from the Bologna Centrale train station and most of the major attractions in the city center.
 
When to Get There
Bologna is known for its extreme weather, with wet winters and hot summers. The basilica interiors offer a welcome respite from the elements in both winter and summer, though the church does close at midday on weekdays.
 
San Petronio’s Controversial Chapel
Giovanni da Modena’s 15th-century fresco cycle depicting heaven and hell is the most famous work of art in the Basilica of San Petronio, in part because of its near-pristine state and in part because it shows the prophet Muhammad being devoured by demons, an image that is considered sacrilegious by many of the Islamic faith.


Location
Address: Piazza Maggiore, Bologna 40124, Italy
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Admission: Free
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12 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Prendiparte Tower Sky Experience

Succede solo a Bologna has created a new tourist route that gives visitors the opportunity to access the panoramic view of the Prendiparte Tower. By climbing 12 floors to the terrace, visitors can admire the historic center of Bologna from a height of about 6O meters. All donations and proceeds from the Prendiparte Sky Experience initiative are dedicated to t h e mai n te nan ce and restoration of monuments and/or sites managed by us.
  • Duration: 60 to 90 minutes
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$5.75 USD
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  • Duration: 60 to 90 minutes
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$5.75 USD

Bologna Private Walking Tour

Explore the beautiful and historic capital of Emilia-Romagna on this private 2-hour walking tour in Bologna. See the highlights of the bustling city and hear about Bologna's university, the oldest in the world. Learn about Bologna's fascinating history, dating back to 1000 B.C., and how the city remains popular among Italian and international students. Discover this fascinating and Medieval town with your private guide.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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$143.85 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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$143.85 USD

Private Tour: Classical Bologna Walking Tour

Discover the center of Bologna, a maze of medieval streets and arcaded walkways, by booking this private walking tour with your own English-speaking and professional guide. This is best way to get the most out of Bologna in a short period of time and getting a lot of personalized attention from the guide.
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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$81.99 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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$81.99 USD

Bologna City Walking Tour

See Bologna’s main attractions and vibrant markets during a 2-hour walking tour with a knowledgeable guide. Visit sights like the massive Piazza Maggiore, incomplete Basilica di San Petronio church, famous Neptune Fountain, and the iconic two towers that each lean in a different direction. Learn about Bologna’s culinary prowess in a country that is serious about food.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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$17.26 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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$17.26 USD

2-Hour Historic Bike Tour of Bologna

A historic university city, culinary capital, and hub of architectural beauty, Bologna offers no shortage of attractions—and this zippy bike tour through town gives you the perfect opportunity to explore. Get up close and personal with the sights, from the bustling Piazza Maggiore to the Basilica of San Domenico and the modern Manifattura delle Arti district. As you go, hear about the city’s long history from your guide.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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$43.73 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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$43.73 USD

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Basilica di San Petronio

A journey through the history, the anedoctes, and the historical facts that made the Basilica one of the most prestigious places and monuments of Bologna.During the visit we’ll describe the historical-artistic general context, introducing also a series of curiosities concerning the BasilicaFree: children under 10 years with family, guides and journalists, disabled
  • Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
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$11.51 USD
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  • Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
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$11.51 USD

Italian Food and Museo Ferrari Small Group Tour from Florence Including Lunch

Ride a high-speed train round-trip from Florence to Bologna on a full-day tour that combines culinary arts and cars. With an informative guide you’ll visit the production centers of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, balsamic vinegar and prosciutto. After sampling these edible delights, gain skip-the-line entry to the Museo Ferrari of Maranello for a tour of the prestigious sports car company. Finish with a 4-course gourmet lunch accompanied by wine, coffee and a digestif. Numbers are limited to 14 participants to ensure a small-group experience.
  • Duration: 12 hours
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$220.95 USD
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  • Duration: 12 hours
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$220.95 USD

Day trip to Bologna from Rome

Journey from Rome into the heart of the beautiful Emilia-Romagna region on this full-day tour of Bologna. Meet your guide directly at your hotel (pickup is available at centrally located venues). In the company of a small group, travel to the medieval city, which is home to one of the world’s oldest universities and a wealth of historical architecture. Learn more about Bologna’s major attractions and history from your guide, and sample its many culinary highlights, too (meals own expense).
  • Duration: 12 hours
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$322.22 USD
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  • Duration: 12 hours
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$322.22 USD

2.5-hour Bologna Jewish History Walking Tour

Discover Bologna’s rich Jewish heritage and learn more about the city’s dark past on a 2.5-hour walking tour. Follow your guide around the Jewish Quarter, see the former Jewish ghetto, and visit San Petronio Church, San Sepolcro Church, and the Jewish Museum.
  • Duration: 2 hours 18 minutes
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$81.99 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours 18 minutes
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$81.99 USD

Private Tour: Bologna Cycling Sightseeing Tour

Explore Bologna by two wheels on a private bike tour of the city. The 2-hour tour takes in the city’s best-known sights and gives the lowdown on their history. Pedal past stately palaces such as Palazzo re Enzo, Palazzo Accursio and Palazzo del Protesta; learn about the public library of Sala Borsa from your private guide; and pose for photos by the Fountain of Neptune — a landmark that hails from the 16th century.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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$113.64 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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$113.64 USD

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San Luca Sky Experience

The association Succede solo a Bologna has conceived a touristic path allows to go to the viewpoint at the base of the Dome of San Luca’s Sanctuary.Visitors can admire, at a height of approximately 42 meters: Bolognese Hills, Bologna’s city center and much more.
  • Duration: 10 to 50 minutes
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$5.75 USD
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  • Duration: 10 to 50 minutes
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$5.75 USD

Private Tour: Ecclesiastical Heritage of Bologna

Visit three Bologna churches of your choice on a 3-hour private tour, and learn about the city’s ecclesiastical history as you go. The churches that you see are up to you, but popular places of worship to visit include the Abbazia di Santo Stefano, Basilica di San Petronio and the Basilica di San Domenico. With a private guide, you’ll discover fun facts about the churches’ history, artwork, architecture and more.
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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$81.99 USD
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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$81.99 USD

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Hercules and Anteus by Guercino

The fifteenth-century Palazzo Sampieri Talon, located in the very heart of the city, is the perfect setting for a grandiose work such as the Hercules and Antaeus fresco by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, also known as the “Guercino”. Painted in 1631, the work best expresses the extraordinary poetic ability of its creator: the plasticity of the bodies, the tension of the muscles, and the clever use of color. This masterpiece embodies all of the strength and uniqueness of Bolognese Baroque.
  • Duration: 45 minutes
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$9.21 USD
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  • Duration: 45 minutes
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$9.21 USD


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