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Basilica Santuario di Santo Stefano

Go for a stroll through this interconnected group of religious buildings, admiring the graceful architecture and valuable artwork in each.

Basilica Santuario di Santo Stefano is a historic complex of churches, cloisters, tombs and courtyards. With a quiet and humbling atmosphere, this complex is a peaceful place to spend an afternoon browsing religious art and artifacts.

The complex was built on the site of an ancient temple dedicated to Isis. Dating back to the Romanesque era, the complex originally consisted of seven buildings. Extensive restorations took place in the early 20th century, reducing the complex to the four buildings you see today.

Enter via Chiesa del Crocifisso, a church named for its 14th-century crucifix. Notice the frescoes on the walls, which depict scenes from the life of St. Stefano. Be sure to explore the crypt, where you’ll find five naves divided by a group of unique columns. According to legend, one of these columns represents the exact height of Jesus. 

Take a look inside Chiesa del Santo Sepolcro, which once held the relics of San Petronio, the patron saint of Bologna. In 2000, the remains were moved to the Basilica of San Petronio.

Don’t miss the Church of Santi Vitale e Agricola, which incorporates recycled Roman masonry and carvings into its architecture. Keep an eye out for the sarcophagi of St. Vitale and St. Agricola, which have intricate relief decorations depicting lions, deer and peacocks. The cross on the wall,is said to have been held by St. Agricola when he was martyred. 

Walk around the Courtyard of Pilates and take a look at the marble basin found at its center. The courtyard is named for this basin, which was rumored to have been used by Pontius Pilate to wash his hands after sentencing Christ to death. 

Continue beyond the courtyard to the complex’s cloister and museum. Enter the museum and you’ll find a number of important religious objects, including a piece of cloth said to have belonged to the Virgin Mary. 

The Basilica Santuario di Santo Stefano is located east of Piazza Maggiore in the old city. Admission is free.


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Top Basilica Santo Stefano Hotel & Accommodation Deals

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Hotel Corona d 'Oro AU$443
Hotel Corona d 'Oro

Hotel Corona d 'Oro

Via Oberdan 12, Bologna, BO
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Bologna City Centre, this luxury hotel is steps from Via Zamboni and Two Towers. Fountain of Neptune and Basilica of San Petronio are also within 10 minutes. Bologna Central Station is 17 minutes by foot and Bologna Rimesse Station is 29 minutes.

    I Portici Hotel AU$161
    I Portici Hotel

    I Portici Hotel

    Via Indipendenza, 69, Bologna, BO
       
      4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Bologna City Centre, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Via Indipendenza, Fountain of Neptune, and National Art Gallery of Bologna. Piazza Maggiore and Museum of Giorgio Morandi are also within 15 minutes. Bologna Central Station is 6 minutes by foot.

      Aemilia Hotel Bologna AU$153
      Aemilia Hotel Bologna

      Aemilia Hotel Bologna

      Via G. Zaccherini Alvisi 16, Bologna, BO
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Bologna City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Museo di Anatomia Patologica, National Art Gallery of Bologna, and University of Bologna. Two Towers and Basilica Santo Stefano are also within 15 minutes. Bologna San VItale Station is 14 minutes by foot and Bologna Rimesse Station is 15 minutes.

        Hotel Metropolitan AU$228
        Hotel Metropolitan

        Hotel Metropolitan

        Via dell'Orso 6, Bologna, BO
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Bologna City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Teatro Auditorium Manzoni and Mercato Delle Erbe. Bologna Central Station is 11 minutes by foot.

          Grand Hotel Majestic già Baglioni AU$608
          Grand Hotel Majestic già Baglioni

          Grand Hotel Majestic già Baglioni

          Via dell'Indipendenza, 8, Bologna, BO
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            This family-friendly Bologna hotel is located in a shopping district, within a 5-minute walk of Via Indipendenza, Fountain of Neptune, and Piazza Maggiore. Museum of Giorgio Morandi and Palazzo Comunale are also within 5 minutes. Bologna Central Station is 14 minutes by foot.

            Al Cappello Rosso AU$227
            Al Cappello Rosso

            Al Cappello Rosso

            Via De' Fusari, 9, Bologna, BO
               
              4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Bologna City Centre, this luxury hotel is steps from Piazza Maggiore, Museum of Giorgio Morandi, and Palazzo Comunale. Communal Collection of Fine Arts and Basilica of San Petronio are also within 5 minutes. Bologna Central Station is 19 minutes by foot.

              Best Western Hotel San Donato AU$138
              Best Western Hotel San Donato

              Best Western Hotel San Donato

              Via Zamboni 16, Bologna, BO
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Bologna City Centre, this hotel is steps from Via Zamboni and Two Towers. University of Bologna and Basilica Santo Stefano are also within 10 minutes. Bologna Central Station is 19 minutes by foot and Bologna Rimesse Station is 28 minutes.

                Hotel Internazionale AU$268
                Hotel Internazionale

                Hotel Internazionale

                Via Indipendenza 60, Bologna, BO
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Bologna City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Piazza Maggiore and University of Bologna. Sant'Orsola Malpighi Hospital and BolognaFiere are also within 2 mi (3 km). Bologna Central Station is 7 minutes by foot.