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  • Address: Piazza Maggiore, Bologna 40124, Italy
  • Admission: Free

Bologna ATTRACTIONS See all

Basilica di San Petronio Tours

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.

Tours & Tickets

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Basilica di San Petronio, Bologna, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 1

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. ...  Read more

Location: Bologna, Italy
Duration: 75 minutes (approx.)

From USD $11.69
Bologna Private Walking Tour, Bologna, Attraction Tickets
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Bologna Private Walking Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1 Review

Bologna dates back to 1000 BC and has played an important role in the world’s history. With a history of almost 3000 years one can only imagine how much there ...  Read more

Location: Bologna, Italy
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $146.13
Private Tour: Ecclesiastical Heritage of Bologna, Bologna, Walking Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Private Tour: Ecclesiastical Heritage of Bologna

Delve into Bologna's Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque churches on your private guided tour examining the history, artwork and architectural features associated ...  Read more

Location: Bologna, Italy
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $83.29
3-day trip Bologna from Rome, Rome, Private Sightseeing Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

3-day trip Bologna from Rome

Take time out of Rome and spend two nights in Bologna. This independent package allows you to explore the city at your own pace. It includes transport by ...  Read more

Location: Bologna, Italy
Duration: 3 days (approx.)

From USD $277.06
Bologna City Walking Tour, Bologna, Multi-day Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Bologna City Walking Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 87 Reviews

Visit medieval squares and landmark churches on a 2-hour guided walking tour of Bologna in both English and Italian. Choose from a morning or afternoon ...  Read more

Location: Bologna, Italy
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $17.54
Private Tour: Classical Bologna Walking Tour, Bologna, Walking Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Private Tour: Classical Bologna Walking Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 40 Reviews

Explore Bologna's untouched medieval center in style on a private walking tour with your own English-speaking guide to lead the way. You'll enjoy personalized ...  Read more

Location: Bologna, Italy
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $83.29
2-Hour Historic Bike Tour of Bologna, Bologna, Walking Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

2-Hour Historic Bike Tour of Bologna

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 7 Reviews

Set off on your adventure to discover Bologna? Bologna by bike is the perfect solution to immerse yourself into the great history of Bologna, the heart of ...  Read more

Location: Bologna, Italy
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $40.92
Italian Food and Museo Ferrari Small Group Tour from Florence Including Lunch, Florence, Bike & ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 4 Reviews

Combine culinary and cars with this action-packed day-long tour of Italy's Bologna region. Depart Florence by high speed train and reach Bologna in only 35 ...  Read more

Location: Florence, Italy
Duration: 12 hours (approx.)

From USD $224.46
San Luca Sky Experience, Bologna, Rail Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

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 ...  Read more

Location: Bologna, Italy
Duration: 10 to 50 mins

From USD $5.85
Private Tour: Bologna Cycling Sightseeing Tour, Bologna, Cultural Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Private Tour: Bologna Cycling Sightseeing Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 4 Reviews

This private cycling and sightseeing tour explores Bologna with the freedom of a bicycle. See some of the most important buildings in the city such as Palazzo ...  Read more

Location: Bologna, Italy
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $115.44

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