Basilica of San Domenico (Basilica di San Domenico)
The basilica was built in 1221 to house the tomb of San Domenico, Founder of the Dominican Order of Preachers, and the magnificent marble Ark of St. Dominic by Nicola Pisano and Niccolò dell’Arca remains the church’s grand centerpiece. In addition, the interiors are Bologna’s most impressive repository of art, decorated by vivid frescoes and paintings by Michelangelo, Filippino Lippi, Guido Reni, Ludovico Carracci, and Guercino, while one of its three grand organs was once played by Mozart and its intricate inlaid choir is considered the “eighth wonder of the world”. A highlight of any Bologna walking or bike tour, San Domenico can easily be visited with other city treasures like the Basilica of San Petronio in Piazza Maggiore, the Two Towers, and the Church of Santo Stefano. This city is also known for its rich cuisine, so combine sightseeing with tastings by opting for a food tour or cooking lesson in Bologna.
Things to know before you go
- Bologna walking and bike tours are mostly outdoors, so dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes.
- Photography without flash is allowed inside.
- The basilica is wheelchair accessible.
- Visitors are required to wear modest attire that covers the shoulders and knees.
How to get there
The Basilica di San Domenico is located on Piazza San Domenico in the historic center of Bologna, an easy walk from the Bologna Centrale train station and most of the major attractions in the city center.
When to get there
Bologna is known for its wet weather (one reason much of the historic center is lined with porticoes). Duck into the basilica to escape the elements, keeping in mind that the church closes briefly at midday.
The Museum of San Domenico
The church also houses a small museum, where you can admire a terracotta bust of St. Dominic by Niccolò dell’Arca, a gothic-style reliquary once belonging to King Louis IX, and works by Guercino, Filippino Lippi, and Pisano.
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- Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio (Teatro Anatomico dell'Archiginnasio)
- San Petronio Basilica (Basilica di San Petronio)
- Basilica of Santo Stefano (Basilica di Santo Stefano)
- Bologna Piazza Maggiore
- Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno)
- Two Towers (Due Torri)
- Prendiparte Tower (Torre Prendiparte)
- Albergati Palace (Palazzo Albergati)
- Oratory of Santa Cecilia (Oratorio Di Santa Cecilia)
- Bologna University Quarter
- National Gallery of Bologna (Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna)
- Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca (Santuario della Madonna di San Luca)
- Ducati Museum (Museo Ducati)
- Marconi Museum (Museo Marconi)
- Lamborghini Museum (Museo Lamborghini)