Porta San Felice, ancient city gate

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Porta San Felice Bologna, italy
Simone Marani, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Porta San Felice Bologna, italy
Simone Marani, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Porta San Felice is one of the ancient gates to the city of Bologna. Here’s what you need to know about a historic place with a strong strategic impact since the fourteenth century.

Table of Contents


The Gate in a Nutshell

Porta San Felice is known by the nickname of Gate of War and is part of the gates located in the third city wall of the city of Bologna. Its position has always had great military importance as it faces the city of Modena.

At the same time, the exact location near the Via Emilia road was very important. For this reason, the door was also used for the payment of duties by the tax collectors.

Today the gate is an important testimony to the historic center of Bologna and stands at its western end. It stands at the intersection with the city avenues, at the exact point where the street changes name from via San Felice to via Aurelio Saffi and, crossing it towards the outside of the walls, you head directly towards the Borgo Panigale district.

The History of the Gate

Come detto in precedenza, la sua costruzione ha avuto inizio nel corso del XIII secolo. Importante è la vicenda del 1325, quando l’esercito modenese sconfisse quello bolognese a Zappolino e rubò il secchio di un pozzo attiguo per schernirlo, nell’evento oggi conosciuto con il nome di secchia rapita.

La prima vera ristrutturazione risale al 1506, alla quale seguì tre anni dopo la costruzione di un’ulteriore protezione. Una visita di Napoleone contribuì a un sostanziale restauro nel 1805, a cui seguirono altri interventi nel 1840 e nel 1903.

Oggi Porta San Felice ha ritrovato lo smalto perduto grazie al restauro iniziato nel 2007 e conclusosi due anni dopo.

As previously mentioned, its construction began during the 13th century. The story of 1325 is important, when the Modenese army defeated the Bolognese army in Zappolino and stole the bucket from an adjacent well to mock it, in an event now known as the “Secchia Rapita” (kidnapped bucket).

The first real renovation dates back to 1506, which was followed three years later by the construction of further protection. A visit by Napoleon contributed to a substantial restoration in 1805, which was followed by other interventions in 1840 and 1903.

Today Porta San Felice has regained its lost enamel thanks to the restoration which began in 2007 and ended two years later.


What to see near Porta San Felice

In the vicinity of these ancient medieval ruins there are some of the most interesting places on a cultural level. Among all, the Museum of Modern Art, better known as MAMbo, undoubtedly stands out.

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This article was written by:
Ivan Agolino
I am a curious traveler and I passionately dedicate myself to the search for new tastes and emotions. I have made Bologna my home and every day I venture into its alleys to discover some new secret that I transcribe in these articles. I hope I can convey all the love I feel for this splendid city!
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