Fodor's Expert Review Santo Stefano

Bologna Fodor's Choice

This splendid and unusual basilica contains between four and seven connected churches (authorities differ). A 4th-century temple dedicated to Isis originally occupied this site, but much of what you see was erected between the 10th and 12th centuries. The oldest existing building is Santi Vitale e Agricola, parts of which date from the 5th century. The exquisite beehive-shape San Sepolcro contains a Nativity scene much loved by Bologna's children, who come at Christmastime to pay their respects to the Christ child. Just outside the church, which probably dates from the 5th century (with later alterations), is the Cortile di Pilato (Pilate's Courtyard), named for the basin in the center. Despite the fact that the basin was probably crafted around the 8th century, legend has it that Pontius Pilate washed his hands in it after condemning Christ. Also in the building are a museum displaying various medieval religious works and its shop, which sells honey, shampoos, and jams made by the monks.

Fodor's Choice Free Church

Quick Facts

Via Santo Stefano 24
Bologna, Emilia-Romagna  40125, Italy


Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Closed during services

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