St. Stefano's Lapidarium

In memory of the fallen in the First and Second World Wars.
Gen. Lanfranco Roccetti, Former Commander Special Unit AUC

It is in Piazza Santo Stefano, one of the most beautiful in Bologna, indeed, perhaps the most beautiful, where stands the famous shrine. Found in the original architectonic complex of Seven Churches are works of art and, like one of those magical boxes that reveal treasures at each opening, we only need to open one of its doors to be immersed in evocative sites. Among these, one of the most spellbinding is the Romanesque cloister on two floors built between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. There, beneath its arcades where silence accompanies the song of history, are the gravestones of many Bolognese soldiers fallen during the First World War. Inaugurated by King Vittorio Emanuele III on June 12, 1925, the Lapidarium accurately presents the soldiers' names, rank, weapon, date and place of death. In red Roman characters on 64 commemorative plaques are written the names of 2,536 soldiers fallen in the city.

Lapidarium - Santo Stefano Basilicata, Bologna

During that first terrible World War, Italy lost approximately 600,000 soldiers. Millions of citizens, including civilians, were involved, so many families having lost their loved ones.


Bologna was among the cities most involved in the production of weapons and ammunition. It played an important role in the care of the wounded and in welcoming refugees, for its support behind the frontline during the war. The tribute paid by the city remains etched forever in our everlasting memory under the arcades of a peaceful place.


To these names, will be added those of the 2,059 fallen soldiers in the Second World War. Even today, that magnificent place brings the memory of those who have contributed with their courage to make it a peaceful place where, at sunset, many Bolognese carry on with the pleasure of walking, of stopping for a greeting and perhaps also of remembering their loved ones lost in the wind of history.


Cloister - Santo Stefano Basilicata, Bologna - picture by Gianpaolo Zaniboni

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Beyond Memory