Very little is known about “San Petronio”, his life and work. He was bishop of Bologna during the 5th century and as such, he was responsible for the construction of the church of “Santo Stefano” of Bologna. It was in this church where the relics of “San Petronio” rested until later they were transferred to the basilica that bears his name.
The relics were discovered in 1141 and shortly after, the first church was built in honor of “San Petronio”. In 1390, construction began on a larger temple for the Patron Saint of the City of Bologna, Italy. Although the church was consecrated in 1954, today, the facade of the church remains incomplete.
The Basilica is among the largest churches in the world in dimensions. Its interior area of 7,920 square meters classifies the structure within the twenty most important churches in the world. Its prominence dominates “Piazza Maggiore” and it is not surprising that it is known as the “most imposing” church in Bologna. Originally, this basilica was designed to eclipse St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, but Pope Pius IV derailed the project.
Towards the rear exterior of the church, there is access by stairs and elevators to what is called the “panoramic terrace”. The metal structure emerged as part of the restoration work, initially for the celebration of the 350th year of completion of the church. The platform is about 54 meters high being the viewpoint on the metal scaffolding. Few structures in Bologna enjoy such a spectacular view of the city as from here.
In 1530, the basilica was used for the coronation of Emperor Charles V by Pope Clement VII.