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Nuns and Capuchins' enclosure

Di rilevanza storica


The Nuns and Capuchins' enclosure is an area to the east of the Third Cloister, composed by four rooms linked by a cross vault portico. This enclosure remains the most significant testimony of the ancient cell structure of Monastery, even if it is completely empty for a cemeterial use after 1801.

Coming from the Elliptic Hall you can find the sepulchres consecrated to the Nuns of Corpus Domini, of Discalced Carmelites, of Salesian Sisters and of the Augustinian and Dominican nuns. The other three rooms, situated here, are instead, consecrated to host the priests’ remains. The Capuchins' enclosure consists of a little cloister surrounded by a three-side portico and small Tuscan stone columns; below the portico we find a segmental arcade basement and above it pillars and cross vaults. Inside, few but important neoclassic works have been conserved: the monument dedicated to Giuseppe Vogli made by Giacomo De Maria (Second Hall, 1813), the other dedicated to Francesco Arrighi made by Alessandro Franceschi (Second Hall, 1821), finally the Dolente to Camillo Gamberini made by Innocenzo Giungi (Capuchins' enclosure, ca. 1834). After 1801 some of the monastic cells were reused to display some skulls, coming from unused urban cemeteries, all of them identified with a tag. This peculiarity struck many foreign travellers and one of the most well-known was Lord Byron who reports how in 1819 the keeper showed him one: “I afterwards went to the beautiful cemetery of Bologna, beyond the walls, and found, besides the superb burial-ground, an original of a Custode (keeper), who reminded me of the grave-digger in “Hamlet”. He had a collection of Capuchins’ skulls and each has its name written on its forehead. Picking one up he told me: "This was brother Desiderio Berò, who died at forty... one of my best friends. I begged his head of his brethren after his decease, and they gave it to me. I then put it in lime and boiled it. Here it is, teeth and all, in excellent preservation. He was the merriest, cleverest fellow I ever knew." At a later time these areas were reused to place tombs and monuments. In August 1849 and for ten years, the Priests’ enclosure contained the mortal coil of father Ugo Bassi, after being exhumed for reasons of public order from the Imperial and Royal governorship. His tomb was the destination of many pilgrimages of the people of Bologna. In summer 1859, for the will of sister Charlotte, the remains of Bassi were transferred to the family tomb in the Hall of the Catacombs.

Traduzione a cura di Lucia Capatti, Ludovica Vittoria Lazzari, Sofia Prosperi and Viktoriya Kim Zucchini; nell'ambito del progetto di Alternanza scuola-lavoro 2018/19 con il Liceo Ginnasio Luigi Galvani di Bologna.