Sala Bolognese

With a Lombard Romanesque Church

S. Maria Annunziata e S. Biagio

Tiny Sala Bolognese, just to the east of San Giovanni in Persiceto, has an 11th-century church, the red brick Pieve di Santa Maria Annunziata e San Biagio, that is a rare example of the Lombard Romanesque on the Emilian plain. It was built over a 4th-century Palaeo-Christian church, which had been built in turn over a temple. Typical of the Lombard style, blind arcades and arches adorn the façade and central aspe; a Byzantine capital with a cubic capital divides a twin light window over the door. A Lombard-style campanile was added in the major 1926 restoration and given a fine nubbly, pigeon-proof roof, with a chapel honouring the locals who died in the First and Second World Wars.

The interior, laid out as a basilica, has three naves divided by simple selenite columns. Near the door is an ancient immersion font in red marble from Verona. On the high altar, up the steps, is a relic from its pagan predecessor: an altar carved with a divinity sporting ram horns, identified as either Jupiter Ammon or the Celtic deity Kerunnos, recycled from a pagan temple and Christianized with a cross. There's a 15th-century fresco of the Annunciation, and on the parapet, a Swabian Imperial eagle. The evocative crypt beneath the altar retains elements from the 4th century church.

Practical Info

Via Gramsci 51

Hours Closed for restoration at the time of writing; for information, ring +39 051 828514

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