Basilica of San Domenico
P.za S. Domenico, 13, 40124 Bologna BO, Italy
|⏰ Opening Hours
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
|💸 Entrance Fee
Find it on google maps
What is San Domenico Basilica?
The Basilica of San Domenico is one of the richest in art churches in Bologna and a significant landmark in the religious and social fabric of the city. Nestled in the heart of Bologna's historic center, this basilica is dedicated to Saint Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, commonly known as the Dominicans. Its austere exterior belies the treasures within, including works by Renaissance masters such as Michelangelo and Filippino Lippi, and its combination of Gothic and Romanesque architecture showcases the transitional styles of the time.
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History of San Domenico Basilica
Construction of the Basilica of San Domenico began in the early 13th century, shortly after the death of Saint Dominic in 1221, who was buried here. The church was built by the Dominican friars to accommodate the growing number of pilgrims who came to venerate the saint's remains. Over the centuries, it has been expanded and embellished with contributions from notable artists.
The existence of the basilica as a place of worship is significant, as it has been a center for religious activities, study, and contemplation for almost eight centuries. It has seen multiple restorations and additions, including the completion of the beautiful Chapel of Saint Dominic where the saint's remains rest in an elaborate shrine.
Why is San Domenico Basilica Important?
San Domenico Basilica holds a place of immense importance due to its role in religious history, art history, and the fabric of Bologna itself. It is the final resting place of Saint Dominic, making it a site of pilgrimage and veneration. Art enthusiasts flock to the basilica to admire the artistic works that grace its interior, such as the sculptures attributed to a young Michelangelo and the frescoes by Guido Reni.
The basilica is also a symbol of Bologna's history. It reflects the city's medieval past and its evolution through to the Renaissance and beyond. Moreover, it's a living place of worship, continuously serving the spiritual needs of its community, much as it has done for centuries.
Things to Do & See at San Domenico Basilica
Visiting San Domenico Basilica is like stepping into a book of history and art. Inside, you can marvel at Michelangelo's sculptures of an angel and Saint Proculus, which he completed when he was barely twenty years old. The intricacy and emotion captured in the marble are a testament to his genius, well before his fame reached its zenith. The inlaid wood choir stalls by Fra Damiano from Bergamo are an incredible example of Renaissance marquetry work, while the ark of Saint Dominic is a masterwork of late medieval sculpture.
The Capella di San Domenico, where the saint's remains are housed, is adorned with a polychrome marble ark, designed by Nicola Pisano and completed by Niccolò dell'Arca and a young Michelangelo - an attraction not to be missed. Aside from the art, the basilica's cloisters and gardens offer a tranquil respite from the bustling city outside. Take your time to absorb the serenity and spirituality that the space provides.
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