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July 29, 2019

Italy: Bologna, Basilica di Santo Stefano

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, Italy, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 12:42 pm

Basilica di Santo Stefano

The Basilica of Santo Stefano is a complex of religious buildings in the historic center of Bologna. Located on Piazza Santo Stefano, it is locally known as Sette Chiese (“Seven Churches”), reflecting that there were originally seven churches at the spot. Today only four churches remain intact, which still seems a large number for a relatively small piece of land.

Bologna’s most unique religious site presents as a labyrinth of interlocking ecclesiastical structures. The architecture spans centuries of Bolognese history incorporating Romanesque, Lombard and Roman elements. There are distinctive parts to the religious complex including the Church of Saint Stephen or of the Holy Crucifix (8th century), Church of the Holy Sepulchre (a copy of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, purportedly from the 5th century), Church of the Saints Vitale and Agricola (4th century origins), and Church of the Trinity (13th century).

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I haven’t seen an explanation for why there are so many churches at this one spot. It remains a curiosity, at least to me. But whatever the reasons for its existence the complex is remarkably atmospheric, particularly when visited after dark.


We visited Bologna’s Basilica di Santo Stefano in October of 2018.


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