The construction of San Giacomo Maggiore started in 1267, as requested by the monastic order "Agostiniani" (Augustine Fathers), completed in 1315 and consacrated only in 1344. The bell tower was added in 1471. The church was built in Renaissance style with Ghotic elements, in particularly on ogival windows. The facade features an impressive portal supported by two carved lions and the statue of San Giacomo on its top. Front facade is the oldest part of the church and has late-Romanesque proportions. Beautiful Venetian Ghotic shaped windowsare decorated in white Istrian stone. The church used to had the 13th century made portico which is now inside the church after the original entrance has been modified. The complex, composed of the church and two monasteries, is bounded by the only surviving section of "Cerchia del Mille", the 11th century city walls.
San Giacomo Maggiore was chosen to be the family church of powerful Bentivoglio, the lords of Bologna, whos chapel is in the interiors.
The interior of the church is a single nave with several polygonal chapels, noteworthy are Chapels of Bentivoglio and Poggi families. There are very valuable Renaissance and Baroque decorations in the interior, as well as numerous artworks by most prominent artists, such as; frescoes by Francia and Lorenzo Costa, majolica pavement by the Della Robbia workshop, artworks by Pellegrino Tibaldi, polyptych by Paolo Veneziano and the tomb of Galeazzo Bentivoglio, sculpted by Jacopo della Quercia.
At the bottom of the church's portico is Oratorio di Santa Cecilia, a tiny Romanesque church.
Much like most churches in Bologna, la Chiesa di San Giacomo Maggiore took many centuries to reach the look we see today. Although first constructed in 1267 by the Augustine Fathers, it received additions and enhancements well into the 16th century. The mostly Romanesque exterior is complemented by a Renaissance-style interior dating from the 15th century. The church's campanile and its portico on the side facing Via Zomboni were also constructed in the 15th century. La Chiesa di San Giacomo Maggiore is located in the heart of the university district of Bologna, so students often gather nearby.
San Giacomo Maggiore is the most famous for the Capella Bentivoglio, the family chapel of the princely Bolognese family. The chapel, which was close at the time of my visit (so I had to see the frescoes in semi-darkness - a torch always helps - few meters away), features beautiful frescoes by Lorenzo Costa. The altarpiece (the Virgin with Two Angel Musicians), another notable work, was rendered by the artist known as Il Francia (Francesco Raibolini).
Outside, visitors could marvel at the elaborate architectural details of this Romanesque-Gothic church (see picture).
The Church of San Giacomo Maggiore is likely to be the first church you will encounter as you pass beyond the main clutch of University buildings on Via Zamboni towards the centre of the city and the Due Torri. It was begun in 1267 and restored in 1915 with majolica ornamentation along the upper part of the façade. Inside this Romanesque church you'll find a nave with no aisle, terracotta figures topping the chapels (by Becchetti, 1765) and altarpieces on the south side of the church by Passarotti, Da Imola and Carracci. There is also a damaged fresco of the story of St Mary of Egypt by Cristoforo da Bologna.
Down the north side of the church you will find the Cappella Bentivoglio, which was founded in 1445 by Annibale Bentivoglio and enlarged by Giovanni II. It contains an alterpiece by Francesco Francia (1488) as well as frescoes of the Apocalypse, the Triumph of Death and the Enthroned Madonna by Lorenzo Costa. The tomb of the father of the Chapel's founder, Anton Bentivoglio, is across from the Cappella.
The Chiesa di San Giacomo Maggiore is a large church located in the university quarter of the city. It was originally built in the 13th century with Gothic features, but has undergone several restorations over the years so that not many signs of its Gothic origin remains.
When we visited the church one evening in Sep 2006 it was undergoing further restoration inside. There was some scaffolding erected, but for the most part we could take a look at what is actually a pretty church. There are some lovely frescoes and little side chapels with statues and carvings.
This church lies in Bologna's university district. It was begun in 1267 but has been altered substantially since. It is visited mainly for the Cappella Bentivoglio, a superb family chapel founded by Annibale Bentivoglio in 1445 and consecrated in 1486. The Bentivoglio family are further glorified by the tomb of Anton Galeazzo Bentivoglio (1435) opposite the chapel. It was among the last works of the noted Sienese sculptor, Jacopo della Quercia.