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Best Free Sites in Bologna

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Santo Stefano

One of the most popular historic places of worship in the city, Basilica di Santo Stefano comprises several holy buildings, built and renovated over centuries. The complex consists of: The Chiesa del Crocifisso, the Chiesa del San Sepolcro, the Chiesa dei Santi Vitale and Agricola, the Chiesa della Trinita, the Benedictine Cloisters, the Chiesetta della Madonna del Loreto (protector of aviators), the Chapel of Santa Giuliana and the Chapel of the Cross. The Romanesque cloister, with its loggia columns topped with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic capitals, is the ideal place to reflect on the beautiful mystique of this legendary place.

Via Santo Stefano 24, Bologna, Italy, 40125
San Petronio Basilica

One of the largest churches in the world and Bologna's most beloved, Basilica di San Petronio forms the focal point of Piazza Maggiore. Construction began in 1390, however, Antonio di Vincenzo's original designs were never fully realized, and the church remains incomplete even today. The bottom half of the facade is bedecked in red and white marble, replete with sculptures by Jacopo della Quercia and other master artists, while the rest is a simple front of bricks. Together, these two halves come together to paint a striking picture of flawed beauty. Inside, Italian Gothic influences abound with red-hued, rarefied pillars lit up by an ample flow of natural light, while the 22 side chapels preserve an extensive array of ecclesiastical art. Also of note is the Meridian line designed by the astronomer Gian Domenico Cassini in 1655; it is the longest of its kind in the world. Dedicated to the city's patron saint, the church was originally envisioned as a public space, rather than a place of worship, and has played host to several momentous events such as the coronation of Charles V in 1530, presided over by Pope Clement VII. Originally owned by the city, the basilica was only consecrated in 1954 and has since been one of the city's most revered churches.

Piazza Galvani 5, Bologna, Italy, 40124
Biblioteca Salaborsa

Nestled in Palazzo d'Accursio, Biblioteca Salaborsa has an atmospheric feel to it. Opened in 2001, this modern public library has a lot to offer. From the Roman ruins to the archaeological treasures, books on culture, contemporary literature and events, this place is always buzzing. The gathering area is a veritable hub for cultural events. Bookworms can find a wide genre of published materials that will surely pique your interest.

Piazza del Nettuno 3, Bologna, Italy, 40124
Piazza Maggiore

The buildings that line the sides of this beautiful medieval piazza were all built between the 12th and 14th Centuries. The Piazza forms the heart of city and it provides a wonderful backdrop for everyday city life. The streets are full of artists, university students and families with children. When the sun is high, they move from the open areas of the square to the shade of the Basilica di San Petronio. Here they sit and witness the daily life of a city which is famous for its university, architecture, tortellini and the extraordinary vitality of the people who live there. Often you can find a crowd gathered in a circle listening to and sharing political ideas.

Piazza Maggiore, Bologna, Italy, 40124
Basilica of San Domenico

Basilica of San Domenico is one of oldest churches in Bologna. The church is built over the buried remains of Saint Dominic. When it comes to history and art, Basilica of San Domenico is the richest church in all of Bologna with works by legendary Italian artists on display. The Basilica also houses chapels, a museum, convent, library and other burials. Visitors throng to see the Basilica of San Domenico every year from around the world.

Piazza Saint Domenico 13, Bologna, Italy, 40124
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