GC Magazine - Galleria Cavour

The unfinished facade of San Petronio comes to life

7 September - 2022

La piazza si accende

It will be an exciting spectacle with great cultural impact that will welcome citizens and visitors to Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore in September.

Starting on Thursday 15, in fact, every evening drawings and illuminations elaborated through an evocative play of light in videomapping will be projected onto the Basilica of San Petronio, showing the public the architectural plans, never realized, of the covering of its famous unfinished facade.

Located just a few steps from our Galleria and its stores, in fact, the Basilica remains one of the city’s symbols par excellence, and its unfinished facade holds uniqueness, charm and even a bit of mystery. Legend, in fact, has it that the project, initially entrusted to Antonio di Vincenzo in 1390, and later to Arduino degli Arriguzzi, was blocked precisely by the Church of Rome to prevent a Basilica larger and more imposing than St. Peter’s from being built a few hundred kilometers away from the Holy See, commissioned, moreover, not by ecclesiastics but by the bourgeoisie and the city government.

Historians, on the other hand, tend to blame the building’s lack of completion on the mismanagement of funds, which were insufficient for such a mammoth project. It is also because of this reason that the current initiative, which aims to temporarily illuminate the façade by showing designs, never realized, by important architects such as Palladio, Girolamo Rainaldi or Vignola, becomes even more suggestive.

Gothic spires, Renaissance arches, Baroque ornaments… how was Bologna’s great unfinished basilica imagined by the creative geniuses of the time? The evening screenings will run through Sept. 19, again starting at 9 p.m., and will be punctually accompanied by the sweeping music of the Overture from Rossini’s William Tell by the Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna.

On the opening night, however, it will be possible to attend a symphony concert by the Orchestra Senzaspine, a musical reality that has already been the protagonist of numerous accompaniments, including during recent events that have taken place at our setting.