Santo Stefano, Bologna

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Santo Stefano, Bologna.

The basilica of Santo Stefano (Italian: Basilica di Santo Stefano) encompasses a complex of religious edifices in the city of Bologna, Italy. Located in the eponymous square, it is locally known as Sette Chiese ("Seven Churches") and Santa Gerusalemme[1] ("Holy Jerusalem").


According to tradition Saint Petronius, a bishop of the city during the 5th century, built the basilica over a temple of the goddess Isis. The saint wished to have a building that recalled the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Parts of the complex include:

  • the Church of San Giovanni Battista or of Santo Crocefisso (8th century)
  • the Basilica of the Santo Sepolcro (5th century)
  • the Basilica of Santi Vitale ed Agricola (4th century, rebuilt first in the 12th century)
  • Santo Giardino or the Courtyard of Pilate (13th century)
  • the Church of the Trinity or of the Martyrium (13th century)
  • the Church della Benda

Pilate's Courtyard recalls the lithostrotos, where Jesus was condemned; it leads to the Church of the Sepulchre. In the center, a basin called the "Catino di Pilato", a Lombard work from 737-744, bears the following inscription: UMILIB(US) VOTA SUSCIPE D(OMI)NE D(OM)N(ORUM) N(OST)R(ORUM) LIUTPRAN(TE) ILPRAN(TE) REGIB(US) ET D(OM)N(O) BARBATU EPISC(OPO) S(AN)C(TE) HECCL(ESIE) B(O)N(ONIEN)S(I)S. HIC I(N) H(ONOREM) R(ELIGIOSI) SUA PRAECEPTA OBTULERUNT, UNDE HUNC VAS IMPLEATUR IN CENAM D(OMI)NI SALVAT(ORI)S, ET SI QUA MUN(ER)A C(UISQUAM) MINUERIT, D(EU)S REQ(UIRET)[3]

Under the portico at the center of a window on a column, a 14th century sculpted rooster, called the Rooster of St Peter, recalls the biblical story of Saint Peter's denial.

Cloister, Basilica di Santo Stefano, Bologna, Italy, 1895.
Layout of the Basilica
1-3. Chiesa del Crocifisso
2. Crypt
4. Basilica del Sepolcro
5. Basilica of Santi Vitale e Agricola
6. Pilate's courtyard
7. Church of Trinità or of the Martyrium containing the ancient Nativity
8. Cloister
9-10-11-12. Church of Benda and museum
Cloister of the Celestines (Cloister of Santo Stefano Basilica), Bologna, Italy, 1914.


Coordinates: 44°29′32″N 11°20′56″E / 44.49216°N 11.348847°E / 44.49216; 11.348847


  1. ^ Bologna: Le nuove guide Oro, page 166, Touring Club Italiano, Touring Editore, 2004, ISBN 8836530079, ISBN 9788836530076.

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