A church has stood on the site of the Cathedral of Bologna on the city’s expansive main plaza since some time around 1000, but the cathedral today bears little resemblance to the original. A fire destroyed the early church in 1141.
The church was rebuilt, but extensive remodeling was undertaken in 1575 in advance of its elevation to the seat of the archdiocese. Unfortunately, the redo was too grandiose and disturbed the basic architectural bones supporting the structure; the vaults collapsed in 1599.
Church architects tried anew as the 17th century dawned. Aside from the crypts below, the existing Cathedral dedicated to Saint Petronio is relatively “new,” with a Baroque interior contrasting with its rather stern façade.