Italy Santa Maria Dei Servi

10 images 1 contributors Shoot with care

Sue Wolfe

Shoot with care
This is an active place of worship. Please dress accordingly.

About this spot
The Basilica di Santa Maria dei Servi was founded in 1346 by the Servites of Maria. The order was founded by a group of wealthy cloth traders in Florence. While the church was started in the 1300s, it took almost two centuries to complete.

The exterior of the church is rather plain, but the portico is unique. The courtyard is completely enclosed by a wide portico with Roman arches in Veronese marble. Friar Andrea Manfredi, architect of the church, was also responsible for expanding the monastery as well as building the porticoes. In the simple brick facade, you will see a circular oculus for the rose window that was never built.

The interior of the church forms a Latin cross and is Gothic in style. Not to be missed are the “Holy Virgin Enthroned” and the 14th century frescoes by Vitale da Bologna and Lippi di Dalmasio. The Annunciation of Mary altarpiece was crafted by Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli, a student of Michelangelo.

In the first chapel is a large panel of the Madonna and Child attributed to Cimabue (Bencivieni di Pepo). However, there is a debate as to whether it was painted by Cimabue or by his students.

The markets and the Feast of Santa Lucia are held under the porticoes during Christmas season. During the holidays you will find Bolognese sweets, a Christmas tree with children’s letters and objects of all kinds.

The Santa Maria dei Servi has a long music tradition. In the 17th century there were four organs. Today, the music chapel houses the pipe organ Tamburini built in 1900. The church is often used for classical music concerts held throughout the year.

The Bell Tower is 52 meters high and dates back to 1453. It is easily seen from the Asinelli Tower.

Following the arrival of Napoleon’s troops in Bologna (1796), the church was temporarily used for military barracks.

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