Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, Bologna
The Piazza di Porta Ravegnana in Bologna contains the Palazzo della Mercanzia and the basilica of Santo Stefano.
Piazza di Porta Ravegnana Map
Palazzo della Mercanzia
From the Piazza del Nettuno Via Rizzoli runs east to the Piazza di Porta Ravegnana, on the south side of which is the beautiful Gothic Palazzo della Mercanzia (1384), home of the Chamber of Commerce.
In the middle of the Piazza di Porta Ravegnana in Bologna are the Leaning Towers, two plain brick towers (Torre degli Asinelli and Torre Garisenda) originally built for defensive purposes, which have become a landmark and an emblem of the city. The Torre degli Asinelli (1119; 498 steps), 97.6m/322ft high, leans 1.23m/4ft from the vertical; the Torre Garisenda (begun end of 11th century), 48m/158ft high, is 3.22m/10.75ft aslant.From the Piazza di Porta Ravegnana five streets radiate to the gates on the east side of the town - Via Castiglione, Via Santo Stefano, Strada Maggiore, Via San Vitale and Via Zamboni.
St Stephens Basilica
In Via Santo Stefano in Bologna is the basilica of Santo Stefano, a complex of eight buildings of which three have frontages on the street - the Chiesa del Crocifisso, now the principal church, originally Romanesque but rebuilt in 1637, with an external pulpit (12th century) and a crypt (1019); the church of Santo Sepolcro, an octagonal building on a centralized plan containing the tomb of St Petronius, bishop of Bologna in the fifth century; and the Romanesque church of Santi Vitale e Agricola (founded fifth century; present building 1019; facade 1885), with the 13th century Chiesa della Trinità. Behind San Sepolcro is the Cortile di Pilato, a pillared courtyard of 1142 (marble basin, 741), adjoining which is a two-story cloister.
In Strada Maggiore is the church of San Bartolomeo (1530; interior 17th century).
Casa Isolani is a 13th century aristocrat's mansion with a projecting upper story supported on oak beams. Opposite (No. 24) is the Palazzo Sampieri, with admirable frescoes from the story of Hercules by Carracci and Guercino. Next door (No. 26) is the house of the composer Gioacchino Rossini, who lived mostly in Bologna between 1825 and 1848 (commemorative tablet).
Picture Gallery and Museum of Industrial Art
The Palazzo Davia-Bargellini (1638-1658) contains the Picture Gallery and Museum of Industrial Art.
Santa Maria dei Servi
Almost opposite the Picture Gallery is the church of Santa Maria dei Servi (begun 1346), with a beautiful portico; inside is a "Madonna Enthroned" by Cimabue.
Some 500m/550yd southeast of Santa Maria dei Servi, in Piazza Carducci, is the house which belonged to Giosuè Carducci (1835-1907), the most popular Italian poet of the 19th century; to the right, on the town walls, is a momument to the poet (1928).
Church of St James Major
In the Via Zamboni (No. 13) is the Palazzo Malvezzi-De' Medici (1560), now the headquarters of the provincial administration. Farther along, on the right, is the church of San Giacomo Maggiore (originally 1267; rebuilt c. 1500), which contains the tomb of the jurist Antonio Bentivoglia (d. 1435), by Jacopo della Quercia. To the left of this, is the Capella del Bentivoglia, containing a "Virgin Enthroned" by Francesco Francia. The Oratory of Santa Cecilia behind the apse of the church, has beautiful frescoes by Lorenzo Costa, Francesco Francia and their pupils (1504-06). Farther along Via Zamboni, on the left, stands the Teatro Comunale (1756-63), an opera-house.
Opposite the Teatro Comunale is the former Palazzo Poggi, with a façade and ceiling paintings by Pellegrino Tibaldi (1569), which has been occupied since 1803 by the University (with some 40,000 students). Farther northeast is the finely planned "University City".
National Picture Gallery
To the north of the university in Bologna, in Via delle Belle Arti (No. 56), is a former Jesuit college which now houses the National Picture Gallery (Pinacoteca Nazionale), with some of the best works of Bolognese painters of the 14th-18th centuries, the 17th century being particularly well represented. Outstanding among other works are a "Madonna with Saints" by the Ferrarese artist Francesco del Cossa, one of his finest works, and a masterpiece by Raphael, "St Cecilia"; there are also works by Guido Reni, Guercino, Perugino, Vasari and Carracci, as well as pictures by Venetian masters, including Tintoretto, Palma il Giovane, Cima da Congliano and Vivarini.
Address: Via delle Belle Arti 56, I-40100 Bologna, Italy
Opening hours: 9am-7pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Easter - Christian
Entrance fee in EUR: Adult €4.00, Concession or reduced rate €2.00
At the west end of the Via delle Belle Arti in Bologna stands the Carmelite church of San Martino (Gothic, 13th-16th century); in the first chapel on the left can be seen a "Madonna with Saints" by Francesco Francia.
In Piazza Malpighi, to the west of the town center, is the Gothic church of San Francesco, built 1236-63 on the model of French churches, with a tower erected 1397-1402. It contains a large Gothic marble altar (1388).