The City Coming Down Out of Heaven (Rev. 21:10): Bologna as Jerusalem

  • Gabriella Zarri
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


In the vision of John of Patmos, the end of the world is followed by the beginning of a new world—a reign of peace that will take place in the holy city descended from heaven (Rev. 21:10). The verse inspired a medieval topos characterizing the city as a heavenly Jerusalem. In the Middle Ages, Bologna—the Roman Bononia—was progressively constructed and reconstructed as a holy city, starting from the early reproduction of the Santo Stefano’s Sancta Jerusalem in the fifth century. The purpose of my intervention is to show the continuity, between the Middle Ages and Early Modern era, of a biblical tradition reflected in the city’s urban planning: from the construction of the third circle of walls closed by twelve doors in the thirteenth century, to the consecration of the city to the Virgin with the elevation of the column of the Immaculate in 1638, and the subsequent erection of twelve Marian oratories on the walls, and of twelve convents at the gates of the city.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriella Zarri
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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