Bologna Cathedral

Bologna Cathedral (Italian: Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro, Cattedrale di Bologna), dedicated to Saint Peter, is the cathedral of Bologna in Italy, and the seat and the metropolitan cathedral of the Archbishop of Bologna. Most of the present building dates from the 17th century, with a few parts from the late 16th century.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Peter
Cattedrale Metropolitana di San Pietro
Bologna-San Pietro visto dalla Torre degli Asinelli.jpg
Bologna Cathedral from the Torre degli Asinelli
AffiliationRoman Catholic Church
ProvinceArchdiocese of Bologna
Ecclesiastical or organizational statusCathedral
Year consecrated1184
LocationBologna, Italy
Geographic coordinates44°29′45″N 11°20′36″E / 44.49583°N 11.34333°E / 44.49583; 11.34333Coordinates: 44°29′45″N 11°20′36″E / 44.49583°N 11.34333°E / 44.49583; 11.34333
Completed18th century


Cathedral interior, looking towards the high altar

There was already a cathedral on the site (on the present Via Indipendenza) in 1028, accompanied by a pre-Romanesque campanile with a circular base (in the architectural tradition of Ravenna). This church was destroyed by a devastating fire in 1141. It was reconstructed, and consecrated by Pope Lucius III in 1184.

In 1396 a high portico (protiro) was added to the west front, which was rebuilt in 1467. From about 1477 the Ferrarese painters Francesco del Cossa and Ercole de' Roberti worked in the Garganelli Chapel on the creation of a cycle of frescoes which later had a significant influence on Niccolò dell'Arca and Michelangelo. The frescoes were lost in subsequent reconstruction except for a very few fragments.

In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII elevated the Bishop of Bologna to Archbishop, and accordingly the cathedral was elevated to the rank of "metropolitan church" (a bishop's seat with jurisdiction over other bishops and dioceses in its territory).

By order of Cardinal Gabriele Paleotti a radical remodelling of the interior of the building began in 1575, of which the crypt and the Greater Chapel (Capella Maggiore) survive. The alterations were so extensive however as to cause the vaults to collapse in 1599, and the decision was then made to rebuild the main part of the cathedral from scratch. Work on the new building started in 1605. A new façade was added between 1743 and 1747, to designs by the architect Alfonso Torreggiani, on the instructions of Pope Benedict XIV.


Cappella Maggiore

The present interior is emphatically Baroque, giving an impression of majesty and grandeur. Among the works of art are an Annunciation by Ludovico Carracci (a fresco in the central lunette of the presbytery), a Romanesque Crucifixion in cedarwood, and a sculptured group in terracotta depicting the Compianto su Cristo morto ("Lament over the Dead Christ"), by Alfonso Lombardi, of the early 16th century. In the apse are early 20th-century paintings by Cesare Mauro Trebbi (1847–1931) including Saint Anne in Glory.[1]

Alfonso Lombardi, Compianto su Cristo morto (early 16th century)
Romanesque altar crucifix from cedar wood, 12th century


The early campanile with the circular base has never been rebuilt, although from the 13th century onwards it has often been suggested that it should be,[2] and the ancient internal structure is still visible.

The bell tower accommodates the bell known as "La Nonna", which at a weight of 3300 kilograms is the largest bell that can be rung by the Bolognese method of bell-ringing.[3]


  1. ^ Fonte: Guida di Bologna, Guido Ricci (5th edn.), p. 176
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2010-08-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)