From its medieval town center to its legendary culinary scene, Bologna is one of Italy’s most beloved cities. Explore the city by bike, join a local guide for a food-themed tour, or get outside the city to learn about the regional tradition of luxury cars on a racetrack during a visit.
Oratory of Santa Cecilia (Oratorio Di Santa Cecilia)
Oct-May 10am-1pm, 2-6pm; June-Sept 10am-1pm, 3-7pm
Via Zamboni, 15, Bologna
A visit to this Romanesque chapel built by Giovanni II Bentivoglio is a must for art lovers, who will appreciate its exquisite frescoes that showcase the mastery of some of Bologna’s most important Renaissance artists, including Lorenzo Costa, Francesco Francia, Amico Aspertini, and Raffaello Sanzio. Stretching over ten panels, the elaborate scenes depict the life of Saint Cecilia and her husband Valerian; the church’s main altarpiece is now displayed in the National Gallery of Bologna. Join a walking or bike tour of Bologna’s historic center to take in the oratory along with other city highlights like the Basilica of Santo Stefano, Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica of San Petronio, the Two Towers, and the Church of San Domenico.
Things to know before you go
- Wear modest attire that covers shoulders and knees to visit the oratory and other churches in Bologna.
- Photography without flash is allowed inside.
- The oratory is accessible to wheelchair users.
- A visit is especially interesting for Renaissance art enthusiasts.
How to get there
The oratory is located in the center of Bologna’s historic center beneath the portico along the side of the Church of San Giacomo Maggiore, an easy walk from the city’s train station and main sights.
When to get there
A visit to this quiet oratory is a welcome respite from the crowds in Bologna’s main square and larger churches during the busiest hours of the day; the oratory closes briefly at 1pm.
The Fresco Cycle in the Oratory of Santa Cecilia
Begun in 1505, the oratory’s Renaissance frescoes cover the walls to the right and left of the oratory entrance and recount ten episodes in the life of the Saints Cecilia and her husband Valerian during the 3rd-century reign of Urbano II, when they were martyred for refusing to recant their Christian faith.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Oratory of Santa Cecilia (Oratorio Di Santa Cecilia)?
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- Two Towers (Due Torri)
- Prendiparte Tower (Torre Prendiparte)
- Bologna University Quarter
- Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno)
- San Petronio Basilica (Basilica di San Petronio)
- Bologna Piazza Maggiore
- Basilica of Santo Stefano (Basilica di Santo Stefano)
- Anatomical Theatre of the Archiginnasio (Teatro Anatomico dell'Archiginnasio)
- Basilica of San Domenico (Basilica di San Domenico)
- Albergati Palace (Palazzo Albergati)
- Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca (Santuario della Madonna di San Luca)
- National Gallery of Bologna (Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna)
- Ducati Museum (Museo Ducati)
- Marconi Museum (Museo Marconi)
- Lamborghini Museum (Museo Lamborghini)