It’s a fact that Basilica de San Petronio in Bologna was instrumental in the creation of the leap year (366 days) in our modern-day calendar. Why? Read below.
How the leap year came into existence. Inside the Basilica, you’ll find a large sundial, measuring 67.7 meters. This is the world’s longest indoor meridian line designed by a professor in astronomy at nearby University of Bologna. It is believed that this meridian was a very helpful device in discovering of the inconsistencies of the Julian Calendar.
What’s the difference between Julian and Gregorian calendar? I’ll explain simply like this: the Julian Calendar records 365.25 days in a year. On the other hand, the Gregorian Calendar (we’re using this now) includes a leap year (366 days) every 4 years to make up for the fractional difference. I might be wrong here but that’s how I understood it. 😀 But the true winner year are those who were born on February 29th! They only celebrate their birthdays once in 4 years! They age so slowly. 😀
Where is the Basilica? Just go to Pizza de Maggiore and you won’t miss its marble and brick facade.
The Basilica de San Petronio is the world’s largest Gothic church built on bricks. It is named after Bologna’s patron saint, Petronius, who was once the city’s bishop in 5th century.
The Basilica is unfinished up to this day. Just look at its facade and you’ll find it’s bland or boring facade, unlike other Gothic churches in Italy or Europe.
There’s one painting that you have to see inside one of the chapels here – The Journey of the Magi. The artist, Giovanni da Modena based his eerie painting on Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” In this paiting, you’ll clearly see the difference between Heaven and Hell in vivid visuals. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it. I’ve tried to find it but couldn’t. I asked two locals and showed them the photo I got online but no one seemed to know where the painting was.
The basilica houses some of the relics of St. Dominic, James of Ulm, etc…
There are 22 chapels inside the basilica.
It was never meant to be a basilica but a public building. In fact, one of the most memorable public events in Italy happened here – the coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, by Pope Clement VII in 1530.
Why Visit Bologna? Because it’s one of the most underrated tourist destination in Italy. I was there in the summer and not many tourists walking around. You’ll enjoy good food, history, architecture and cultural vibes you’d never experience in other places in Italy. It’s a medieval city that has many things to offer – from its 40-km porticos to ancient towers that are still used until today. The city also has Europe’s oldest university.
A Day Trip from Bologna. I’d suggest you check out Ravenna where Dante rests in eternal peace. It’s a small but interesting, historical town. And only very few tourists there, too! Here’s what I did there.
I stayed at Stazione Centrale. It’s an AirBnB style that’s ok for a night or two. I chose this because it’s really convenient to everything – grocery shops, fastfood, and cafes. If you arrived by train, you should go to the back entrance / exit. From there, the hostel/AirBnb is just 20 meters away.
Well, you know, solo travel is not for everyone. Should you decide to go on with a tour group, go with – Intrepid Travels. They have a wide variety of tours for all ages and different kinds of travelers, including solo, seniors, teenagers and family.