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San Petronio, Bologna

Piazza Maggiore
Italy 40121
Tel: 39 051 225 442's insider take:

Designed by Antonio di Vincenzo in 1390, Bologna's unfinished cathedral is one of Italy's finest and largest Gothic buildings. Of particular note, the main entrance contains a striking collection of bas-relief panels of Old Testament scenes by 15th-century sculptor Jacopo della Quercia. Inside, treasures include the country's oldest organ, an ancient sundial (a small hole in the roof provides the beam of sunlight), archways, historic glass windows, a canopy above the high altar by Vignola, and frescoes by Giovanni de Modena with scenes from Dante's Divine Comedy. The church was originally designed to be larger than St. Peter's in Rome, but the Pope called a halt to construction several centuries after work began. Today, the Basilica's wide steps are a great place to take in the everyday street theater of Piazza Maggiore.

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