Palazzo d’Accursio Bologna (or Palazzo Comunale)

The Palazzo d’Accursio in Bologna consists of a number of buildings that, in the course of the centuries, were added to a palace purchased by the city towards the end of the 13th century. One of those palaces was the home of the jurist Accursio. It is now the town hall of the city, but also houses a small municipal art museum. The facade is characterized by a large clock and a papal statue above the main portal.

Palazzo d’Accursio Bologna

Useful Information

Palazzo d'Accursio Bologna

Address: Piazza Maggiore, 6 – Bologna. Phone: +39 051 203040. Opening Hours: The Sala Rossa, Sala d’Ercole, Sala Farnese and Cappella Palatina may be visited when not in use. However, one can unfortunately only find this out upon arrival. The Sala del Consiglio Comunale is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 13:00. The Sala Borsa is open on Mondays from 14:30 to 20:00, on Saturdays from 10:00 to 19:00 and the rest of the week (except Sundays and holidays, when it is closed) from 10:00 to 20:00. The entrance to the Sala Borsa is in Piazza Nettuno. Admission: free.

To see the excavations under the Piazza Coperta, one can visit from 10:00 to 13:30 and from 15:00 to 18:30. On Monday morning and on Sundays and holidays this is not possible. Admission is also free here.

The Municipal Art Collection (Collezioni Comunali d’Arte) has separate opening hours.

History and Description

Originally the building was used as a public grain store. It also housed some municipal offices. In 1336 it became the seat of the Anziani (“Elders”), which was the highest governing council of the city at the time.

In the first half of the 15th century, the palace was restored by the architect Fioravante Fioravanti. Later, the clock on the Torre d’Accursio was also added.

From 1451 to 1796, a carousel was attached under the great clock on which four wooden figures just over a meter in height moved in a semicircle. The figures depicted the “Madonna and Child” and the “Three Kings.” They are now on display in the Municipal Art Collection on the second floor of the building.

On the facade is a gilded “Madonna and Child” made in 1478 by Niccolò dell’Arca. Until 1511, there was also an effigy of Pope Julius II, but this was destroyed during an attempt by the Bentivoglio to return to the city.

In the mid-16th century, the portal created by Galeazzo Alessi was added to the façade. In 1580, this portal was crowned with the bronze statue of Pope Gregory XIII (a member of the Boncompagni family, who came from Bologna). This work was produced by the sculptor Alessandro Menganti.


Within the building, a number of halls, chapels and loggias can be visited.  To do so, one must climb a wide staircase designed by Bramante. This staircase was originally made for the city’s notables to climb on their horses.

The main halls and other attractions of the palace are the Sala d’Ercole, the Sala del Senato (now called Sala del Consiglio Comunale), the Sala Regia (now called Sala Farnese) and the Cappella del Legato (also called Cappella Farnese).

Later additions are the Sala Rossa on the first and the Sala Urbana on the second floor. The latter is part of the winter residence of the cardinals sent to Bologna as papal envoys. Today this residence is the seat of the Municipal Art Collection. The hall is dedicated to Pope Urban VIII. Attached to the walls are the coats of arms of all the legates and governors of the city from 1327 to 1744.

The entrance to the Sala Borsa is located in the Piazza Nettuno. Previously here was a garden created in 1568 by Ulisse Aldrovandi, called the “Garden of the Simples”. Between 1883 and 1886 a pavilion made of cast iron and glass was erected here, which a century later received a second floor. Since 2001 it has been the seat of the Municipal Multimedia Library.

Until November 2012, the Morandi Museum was also housed in the Palazzo Comunale.

Palazzo d’Accursio Bologna

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