We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“huge basilica with lovely works of art” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Basilica di San Domenico

Basilica di San Domenico
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Private Tour: Ecclesiastical Heritage of Bologna
Ranked #11 of 314 things to do in Bologna
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
60 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“huge basilica with lovely works of art”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 2, 2012

The basilica houses the shrine of St.Dominic, which despite his immense importance was surprisingly empty when we visited. The actual tomb-chest, the "arca", is what gave the sculptor Niccolo dell'Arca his name, and is a quite extraordinary feat of programmatic renaissance sculpture. At the back of the arca there is displayed an x-ray of the saint's skeleton, opposite the astonishingly gorgeous reliquary which displays his skull; a suggestive juxtaposition! There is a particularly lovely Filippino Lippi "Marriage of St.Catherine" in the tiny chapel to the right of the sanctuary.

Visited June 2012
Thank LondonVicar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

540 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
62 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Atmospheric church”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2012

The tomb of St Dominic is located in a side chapel of this magnificent church, reputed to be haunted by Michaelangelo, who carved an angel for the altar, and Mozart, who played the organ here as part of his tuition. The altar of St Dominic is worth the visit alone, richly decorated, including a X-ray of his coffin, which you may find morbid or fascinating, depending on your tastes.

There is a lot of very interesting history about St Dominic, the Dominican order, and their work, including a small piece on Thomas of Aquinas. You can even pick up some of their most recent publications, although those that I could see were all in Italian.

Visited June 2012
Thank discoverypark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
59 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Must visit”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 8, 2012

This is set in a large piazza and we found it the most interesting church in Bologna. The tomb of St Dominic is absolutely amazing and has to be seen to be believed but this is only one of many tombs and altars etc to view.

Visited June 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antelope, Ca
Level Contributor
44 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Beautiful Basilica”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 28, 2012

Beautiful interior for taking pictures and enjoying the history of the Basilica. Some of the Basilicas & churchs don't allow flash or the taking of pictures. This one allowed both. They try to move you along and not let you stay very long, even when there are not that many people in the Basilica.

Visited May 2012
Thank Andrew611
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bologna, Italy
Level Contributor
126 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 259 helpful votes
“San Domenico - impressive late Gothic and Baroque church in the heart of Bologna”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2012

We visited San Domenico on a Sunday morning and there was a lively atmosphere as modern-day pilgrims wandered around. The church is of late Gothic origin, originally built in the 1200s to house the tomb of St Dominic, and was remodelled in 1728-32 in Baroque style by Carlo Francesco Dotti, who also designed the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca and the covered walkway or "portico" leading up the hill to San Luca. In recent years it has undergone a complete renovation restoring it to its former glory. The nave is flanked by an aisle on each side, and as you walk down the right-hand aisle you come to the most splendid chapel, protected by cast iron railings, beneath its very own dome with frescoes by Guido Reni (1613-1615), housing the marble tomb known as the “Arca di San Domenico”, that includes work by Nicolò dell’Arca. The sculpture of San Petronio on the front of the tomb (one of four saints, the second from the left, holding a model of the city of Bologna) is said to be the work of Michelangelo, along with the angel on the front right-hand corner. At the end of the right-hand aisle, the chapel next to the high altar is adorned with an early Renaissance painting by Filippino Lippi, The Mystical Marriage of St Catherine (1501). The chapel is in darkness, but to turn the light on, you just have to get close up to the railings. Other paintings include work by Guercino and Lodovico Carracci. The inlaid marquetry wooden choir stalls by Fra’ Damiano da Bergamo (1528-51) were once considered to be the eighth wonder of the world. After San Domenico we went to see the Baroque church of Santa Maria della Vita, just off Piazza Maggiore, housing the late fifteenth-century terracotta sculpture group, “The Lamentation over the Dead Christ”, also by Nicolò dell’Arca, like the tomb of San Domenico.

Visited April 2012
2 Thank WilliamJo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Basilica di San Domenico also viewed


Been to Basilica di San Domenico? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing