Italy San Giovanni in Monte

10 images 1 contributors Shoot with care

Sue Wolfe

Shoot with care
This is an active church so dress appropriately and be respectful of worshippers.

About this spot
San Giovanni in Monte was built on the site of a 5th century church known as the Monte Oliveto. The original church was part of Bishop Petronius' project to reconstruct the Holy Land’s places of worship in Bologna—Le Sette Chiese represented Jerusalem, San Giovanni the Mount of Olives, Saint Stefano Street the valley of Jehoshaphat and De’Pepoli Street the River Hezekiah. The current church was mentioned in 1045 making it one of the oldest churches in Bologna. It was enlarged twice—once in the 13th century and again in the 14th century.

The interior has a Latin cross layout, three naves and a ribbed cross vault roof. In the center of the main nave is a large cross from the ancient church. The altar is decorated with a Christ carved from fig wood and the side aisles have numerous chapels. In 1824, the floor was replaced and at that time the tombstones in the floor were moved to the walls.

After Napoleon invaded Italy, the art was moved to the Louvre and the priests expelled. Most of the art was returned to the church while some pieces found their way to Italian museums. The side chapels are decorated with paintings from mostly Bolognese artists including Lorenzo Costa.

The church was badly damaged during a bombing raid in WWII with three chapels destroyed. The portico, the vault and several other chapels suffered substantial damage. The church was completely restored between 1947 and 1950.

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