Tucked away in Via Zamboni Portico, just moments from the Church of San Giacomo Maggiore, the Oratory of Santa Cecilia (Oratorio Di Santa Cecilia) hides a wealth of artistic treasures behind its simple façade.
The Romanesque church was built as a family chapel for Bologna Lord Giovanni II Bentivoglio, and is most renowned for its exquisite series of frescos. Dating back to 1505, the frescos showcase the mastery of some of Bologna’s most important Renaissance artists, including Lorenzo Costa, Francesco Francia, Amico Aspertini and Raffaello Sanzio. Stretching over ten panels, the elaborate scenes depict the life of Saint Cecilia and her husband Valentine, while the church’s main altarpiece was so impressive, it’s now on display in the National Art Gallery of Bologna.
The Oratory of Santa Cecilia is located on Via Zamboni in central Bologna and is open daily from 10am to 1pm, and 2pm to 6pm (October to May) or 3pm-7pm (June to September). Admission is free.