EMILIA ROMAGNA - Bologna
SCHEDA : Church of  S. Giovanni in Monte

S. GIOVANNI IN MONTE

According to the tradition, St. Petronio, archbishop of the town, had a circular votive chapel built in 432; a symbolic one representing the Jerusalem place of Monte Oliveto. The Canons Regular of Monte Oliveto built there a church in the XIII century, with a cruciform ground plan closed by a square apse. Between 1475 and 1480 an imposing restoration was made, with the three further bays connected to the old building, each one flanked by two chapels. The original church became the apse of the new impressive building, with a basilican typology referable to St. Petronio’s. A façade following the project made by Domenico Berardi was realized in the years 1475-80. It refers to Venetian Renaissance models, with three large windows: two lancets and a magnificent rose window predisposed by the bequest of Gabione Gozzadini and worked by Francesco del Cossa. In the lunette of the pronaos stands out a great eagle made of clay, carried out in 1481-2 by Niccolò dell’Arca. Then, St. Michael Archangel and St. Augustine Chapels were added to the sides of the presbytery; and at the beginning of the XVI century the blessed Elena Duglioli had St. Cecile chapel made , and Raphael painted the famous St. Cecile altarpiece for it.

As in many churches also in this one the suppression of the religious institutes and their consequent expropriation was the starting of a state of neglect: the monastery was used as a prison, whilst the several prestigious works were scattered. The church was saved as it was a parish church, and still today it is kept in its original structure. Only a small part of its rich art collection is displayed in the little parish museum.

S. GIOVANNI IN MONTE GROUND PLAN

The building orientation is shifted compared to the traditional one, with the apse in the east, which CVMA refers to for its numeration .