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Basilica di San Francesco

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Piazza Malpighi, 9, 40123 Bologna BO, Italy

Opening Hours

6:45 AM - 1:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Ambra
Local tour guide
"Visit the Basilica of San Francesco in the late afternoon to avoid the crowds and to experience the way the setting sun illuminates the stained glass, creating a serene and almost mystical ambiance unique to that time of day. Also, check with the local parish because they sometimes host small classical music concerts in the evenings, which are not widely advertised but are absolutely enchanting to attend."

What is Basilica of San Francesco?

The Basilica of San Francesco is a remarkable architectural jewel nestled in the heart of Bologna, Italy. It’s a prime example of Italian Gothic architecture, which casts an imposing yet graceful silhouette against the Bologna skyline. Not merely a structure of bricks and mortar, the Basilica is replete with history, artistry, and spiritual significance that has been a beacon to both the devout and the art enthusiasts for centuries.

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With its grand façade, featuring elegant pointed arches and large rose windows, the Basilica captivates the eyes of those who wander in its vicinity. Inside, the artistry unfolds with an array of chapels, each adorned with frescoes and art from the medieval period, while the tomb of Pope Alexander V is one of its most revered treasures. Walking through its halls, you can feel a sense of serenity coupled with the weight of the ages, as if the walls themselves whispered tales of bygone eras.

History of Basilica of San Francesco

The Basilica's roots stretch back to the 13th century when it was erected by the Franciscans, who arrived in Bologna in the early 1200s. Its construction began around 1236 and was completed in the latter part of the 15th century, making it a testament to the endurance and faith of the builders across generations. The arrival of the Franciscans marked a significant shift in the religious landscape of Bologna, with St. Francis of Assisi's teachings of humility and poverty resonating deeply with the local populace.

Over time, the Basilica of San Francesco became not only a focal point of religious devotion but also a hub for culture and education. It played a significant role in the community, experiencing the turbulent events of history, including damages during World War II, which it managed to withstand, further cementing its reputation as an enduring symbol of Bologna's resilience and spirit.

Why is Basilica of San Francesco Important?

The importance of the Basilica of San Francesco lies in its multifaceted role throughout history. It stands not only as a place of worship but as a bastion of cultural heritage. It’s a repository of medieval art that provides invaluable insights into the Gothic period and the Franciscan monastic orders that played a vital part in Bologna's, and indeed Italy's, religious and cultural development.

Furthermore, it symbolizes the rich tapestry of Bolognese history, embodying the transitions the city and the Christian faith have undergone. It’s important as a center for pilgrimage, attracting visitors who seek solace in its spiritual ambiance or wish to pay homage to the Franciscan heritage that threads through the very fabric of their faith.

Things to Do & See at Basilica of San Francesco

Visitors to the Basilica of San Francesco are enveloped in an atmosphere of historical grandeur. Here, you can admire the elaborate Gothic façade, which stands as a testament to the architectural prowess of the Middle Ages. Delving into the interior, one can explore a series of chapels, including the Chapel of Saint Francis, decorated with frescoes that narrate the life of the Saint.


Art lovers will be drawn to the Chapel of the Ascension, with its impressive 14th-century frescoes, and the Mausoleum of Pope Alexander V is a significant site that commands respect and quiet contemplation. Apart from the artistic and historical treasures, the church grounds themselves offer a tranquil respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. Take a leisurely stroll around the cloisters, or simply absorb the serene atmosphere while seated in a quiet corner of the courtyard.

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While you’re there, it's also worth immersing yourself in the vibrant community around the Basilica. The surrounding streets are lined with quaint shops and local eateries where you can taste traditional Bolognese cuisine. It's a perfect way to round off a visit to one of Bologna’s most hallowed monuments, by not only seeing the past but also experiencing the living culture that has grown around it.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Basilica of San Francesco in Bologna known for?

The Basilica of San Francesco in Bologna is famed for its Romanesque-Gothic architecture, historical significance in Bologna, and as the resting place of the eponymous saint, Saint Francis of Assisi.

Can visitors tour the interior of the Basilica of San Francesco?

Yes, visitors can tour the interior of the Basilica of San Francesco, which is noted for its art and solemn atmosphere. It's important to check the visiting hours and respect the sanctity of the space during your visit.

Are there any special events or services at the Basilica of San Francesco worth attending?

The Basilica of San Francesco holds various religious services, including Mass, and may host concerts or other events that celebrate its cultural and spiritual heritage throughout the year.

Is there an entrance fee to visit the Basilica of San Francesco in Bologna?

Generally, entry to the Basilica of San Francesco is free, but donations are welcomed to help with the maintenance and restoration of the historical site.

What are the nearby attractions to the Basilica of San Francesco in Bologna?

Nearby attractions include the Medieval Museum of Bologna, the Two Towers, Piazza Maggiore, and other historic churches and museums that are within walking distance from the Basilica of San Francesco.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Piazza Malpighi, 9, 40123 Bologna BO, Italy

Opening Hours

6:45 AM - 1:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps