Where old alleys and rationalist architecture palaces live together.
The area that goes from via Indipendenza towards the west to via Emilia is particular because centuries old streets and the 20th century rationalist urbanization live together, with palaces built during the fascist period part of the medieval architecture of the historic bolognese centre. Via Indipendenza is quite recent if we consider that this straight street was built in 1890 to connect the railway station with piazza Maggiore, becoming the town square that showed Bologna to travelers and tourists. Before this the parallel street via Galliera was the main street where people went for a stroll and wealthy and aristocratic families met in the beautiful palaces built by the best architects. Along via Galliera there are a lot of buildings of great artistic value that are the proof of the style of the period in which they were built, as for example Palazzo Felicini in 1497 or Palazzo Aldrovandi in 1725. Between these two palaces, on the same side of the road, there is the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the oldest church in Bologna dedicated to Our Lady, its origins date back to the 6th century, when via Galliera was the kardo major of the Roman town that is the main north-south oriented street.
Towards the centre of via Galliera there is the seat of the Istituto per I Beni Artistici e Culturali dell’Emilia Romagna, at n. 21, Palazzo Bonasoni and at few steps on the left there is via Manzoni, where at n.4 there is the 15th century Palazzo Ghisilardi Fava seat of the Museo Civico Medievale where numerous works of art, from the 7th to the 15th, are exhibited.
It is a collection of great value based on the period in which Bologna was powerful politically, economically and artistically up to the end of the 16th century, with the Nettuno by Giambologna (Jean De Boulogne) used for the realization of the Fountain in piazza del Nettuno.
Among the items exhibited the wooden statue of Bonifacio VIII, covered by golden copper foils, stands out; it was made by Manni di Bandino in 1300. There are items that go through the centuries from langobardic goldsmiths’art and glass or ivory works up to the ones of Bentivoglio court life. Palazzo Fava extends also to the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, an area dedicated to hold exhibitions from public and private collections. But the rooms of the palace are a permanent work of art, with the great cycle of frescos by Agostino, Annibale and Ludovico Carracci, that in eighteen panels show the myth of Giasone and Medea. The work was ordered by Filippo Fava to Carracci in 1584 and it is considered one of the masterpiece of renaissance painting. Opposite Palazzo Fava you can find the chiesa di Santa Maria di Galliera and the ex-Oratorio di San Filippo Neri. The church dates back to the 14th century and in the centuries it was enriched with the façade rich of statues and with the frescos and paintings by Francesco Albani, Guercino, Giuseppe Marchesi and other artists. The ex-Oratorio di San Filippo Neri was designed by Alfonso Torreggiani (1682-1764) and inside there are sculptures by Angelo Pio and paintings by Francesco Monti, two artists that interpreted the bolognese barocchetto. It shows also the fresco Ecce Homo by Ludovico Carracci and the organ rebuilt to substitute the one destroyed by the second World War bombing.
In via Galliera opposite via Manzoni there is via Parigi, where at n.5 there is the Oratorio di San Colombano, built at the end of the 16th century to contain the Madonna dell’Orazione by Lippo di Dalmasio (1360-1410). The building is part of a complex built around the original unit, the chiesa di San Colombano, wanted by the bishop Pietro I in 610, disciple of the Irish Colombano monk founder of Bobbio monastery. The complex has been recently restored and a late romanesque crypt and a painting of Jesus Christ on the cross between the Virgin and San Giovanni came to light.
The small church that holds the fresco by Lippo di Dalmasio is particular for the decorated vault of the end of the 18th century by Flaminio Innocenzo Minozzi and for the frescos of the late renaissance bolognese school of Lionello Spada Lorenzo Garbieri and Lucio Massari.
Upstairs you can see the congregational room decorated with works by bolognese painters of the school of Carracci: a cycle of frescos inspired to the Passione e al Trionfo di Cristo.
San Colombano shows also the collection of old musical instruments given by Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini and the musical library given by the heirs of the master Oscar Mischiati. From via Parigi in few meters you can reach via Montegrappa, where at n.15 there is the chiesa dei Santi Gregorio e Sirio, built in 1532 and that shows precious paintings of the bolognese school of Annibale and Ludovico Carracci, Camillo Procaccini and Denijs Calvaert Dutch artist and bolognese by adoption. via Nazario Sauro, where there is the Biblioteca d’Arte e di Storia in the ex-chiesa di San Giorgio in Poggiale, at n. 22 in this old building there are some contemporary works of art by Claudio Parmiggiani and Piero Pizzi Cannella. This union between old and modern can be found in via Marconi, street built in 1936 (after the covering works of the ship canals) with the original name of via Roma. The new street was an example of modernist architecture with neoclassical sense, like Palazzo Lancia on the corner with via Riva di Reno, designed by Paolo Graziani with monumental and metaphysical inspiration. Another palace on the corner that takes again the rationalist style of the period is Palazzo del Gas, almost a spire between via Marconi and via Lame, designed by Alberto Legnani.
Another call to the period is Palazzo Faccetta Nera by Francesco Santini, with its dark front, the linear geometries of the windows and the decorative concentric lozenge design in relief.Going along via Marconi you cross via San Felice, to go back to the classical art with the chiesa di Santa Maria della Carità, n. 64. Rebuilt in 1583 and enlarged the century after, in the interior there are works by bolognese painters from the 16th to the 18th century, among whom Giovanni Luigi Valesio, Annibale Carracci, Carlo Cignani, Marcantonio Franceschini, Luigi Crespi and others.
Not far there is via Calari, where at n.4 there is the Oratorio di San Rocco: the interior has a precious cycle of frescos made by pupils of Carracci starting from 1618 and show the life of the saint in eleven frescos on the wall. It is very beautiful the decorated paneled ceiling with an extraordinary illusionary effect of the perspective.
PLACES TO BE VISITED
• The Museo Civico Medievale
• The chiesa di Santa Maria di Galliera and its façade
• The Oratorio di San Colombano
• The rationalist architecture of via Marconi
NOT TO BE MISSED
• The statue of Bonifacio VIII at the Museo Civico Medievale
• The cycle of frescos by Carracci at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni
• The frescos on the upper floor of San Colombano
• The paneled ceiling of the Oratorio di San Rocco
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