The story of the 4th-century martyrs of Bologna, SS. Vitalis and Agricola, who died in 304 under Emperor Diocletian, was first mentioned in 394 by St Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, who did much to popularize their cult. Agricola was a Christian who converted his slave Vitalis. Vitalis was executed, and Agricola was tortured to recant his religion, then crucified in the Roman amphitheatre on this site, then outside the walls.
The church was rebuilt in the 16th century by the Benedictines, but retains its original early Romanesque crypt and the Renaissance Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angeli.
Via San Vitale 50
Hours Mon-Sat 8.15am-noon, 3.40pm-7.30pm; Sun and hols 9am-12.30pm, 4-8.30pm
Images by: Bucaramango, Creative Commons License