Saturday 30th of June we had our second [im]possible tour by bike in Bologna, as you probably will remember the first one was back in February in Milan.
The weather was incredibly challenging in Bologna (39°C), but that didn’t stop many people from coming and sharing this wonderful afternoon with us. Continue reading
by Andrea Venturini, a view of Chiesa di San Felice e San Niccolò, Bologna, Italy
This incredible place is the (ex) church of San Felice and San Niccolò in via San Felice at the corner with via dell’Abbadia.
Walking down the street you can’t notice nothing but a dirty and dilapidated old portal and some sheets that cover the external stuccoes, but the beauty is hidden inside.
You can only unveil the mystery from the upper floors of the opposite building, from which you can see the church that is completely uncovered, probably because of a bombardment during WWII: the inner structure became some sort of beautiful arena / open-air theater, now used as a nest for birds. Have a look to the map below, the satellite view it’s really amazing!!
Below is the description on the plaque next to the portal:
“Church of San Felice and San Niccolò
Dates back to the XII century. It was rebuilt by Peter Fiorini in 1576 and renovated in 1753. From the original building only the facade remains, on which was placed an iron cross on the marble pillar, moved here from the road in 1732 (the cross is now kept in the church of Santa Maria of Charity). ”
This building was conceived in 1955 to be a boarding school, becoming over the years a place abandoned to itself. The building is four floors high, has many laboratories, a chapel, several offices and administrative structures. It was assigned to the architect Glauco Gresleri by the religious order of the Padri Passionisti to realize a boarding school with a professional teaching focus, taking advantage of the law on training for the building work: this role is well reflected by the distribution of interior spaces.
An ambitious project that was stopped after the construction of the first two lots in the mid 60′s. Since then the building has been abandoned to itself, as it is today, waiting for a redevelopment project.
This place used to be a quite famous cinema in Bologna and it was closed a few years ago, probably around 2005 (I tried to find the exact date on the web, but I couldn’t find any specific information). During these years several renewal projects have been proposed for the Embassy, but nothing has actually been set in place so far. In order to free the abandoned space, the cinema has been occupied by student collectives more than once, even though they weren’t able to keep the building because of police interventions.
This state of abandonment is a shame because the cinema is really huge (I can’t tell the exact dimensions, but at least several hundreds of m2) and young people in Bologna are continuously demanding space for creativity that they don’t have.