Holy Mary of Life
The monumental complex of Santa Maria della Vita , reopened to the public in May 2010 following restoration, is the heart of the historic center of Bologna , the so-called Quadrilatero .
The church, with the dome designed by Bibiena, is the most important example of Bolognese Baroque ; inside it houses the famous Lamentation over the Dead Christ by Niccolò dell'Arca , that "stone scream", as Gabriele D'Annunzio defined it. Next to the church is the Oratory, where it is possible to admire the sculptural group of the Transit of the Virgin by Alfonso Lombardi, and the Museum of Health and Assistance .
The complex dedicated to Santa Maria della Vita was built in 1261 by the Perugian Raniero Barcobini Fasani, who founded the brotherhood of the Battuti Bianchi and established a hospital for the care and assistance of the sick and pilgrims. Over the centuries it became an important health resort and a grandiose sanctuary, enriched with splendid works of art .
With the Napoleonic reforms of the late eighteenth century the assets of the Confraternity were expropriated and made public. Starting from 1801, other Bolognese hospitals also converged in the Great Hospital of Life and Death, until 1814, when the complex took on the new name of Ospedale Maggiore, then razed to the ground by bombing in 1943.