The San Domenico Basilica in Bologna is the main seat of the Dominican monastic order. It is one of the city’s most beautiful churches. The biggest tourist attraction is the Arca di San Domenico.
Basilica of San Domenico Bologna
Address: Piazza di San Domenico, 13 – 40124 Bologna (tel: +39 0516400411). Opening hours: From 07:00 to 13:00 and from 14:30 to 20:00. On Sundays and public holidays also from 21.00 to 23.00. Admission: Free. (Note that prices and times may be subject to change.)
History and description
San Domenico, founder of the Dominican monastic order, arrived in Bologna around the year 1200. He took possession of the district where the current church is built. After his death in 1221, the monks decided construct a larger church.
The interior was restored by Carlo Francesco Dotti between 1727 and 1732. This involved merging the two old medieval buildings into one.
The square in front of the church is paved with river stones, a typical medieval custom. Similar stones were used for the Piazza Santo Stefano. The column in the square was designed by Guido Reni.
The facade of the church is built in the Romanesque style and is clad entirely in the typical Roman laterizio stones.
The interior of the San Domenico Basilica consists of three naves and a number of side chapels. The most important one of the chapels is the Cappella di San Domenico.
What to see
Arca di San Domenico
The Arca di San Domenico is the sarcophagus where the mortal remains of the saint himself are preserved. This sarcophagus was designed and carved by Nicola Pisano and his pupils, although other masters such as Niccolò dell’Arca, Michelangelo, Alfonso Lombardi and Jean-Baptiste Boudard also worked on it.
Designed by the monk Damiano da Bergamo between 1528 and 1551, the wooden choir is sometimes considered the eighth wonder of the world. Charles V was a great admirer.
Next to San Domenico Church is the Ghisilardi Chapel designed by Baldassarre Peruzzi.