In the next days, after a long restauration, two unique locations will be inaugurated in Bologna: Bagni di Mario and S. Zama Crypt.
Bagni di Mario or better Mario's Bath is the name herroneusly given to Conserva di Valverde. When it was discovered in the past century, people thought the place was a Roman thermal bath.
On the contrary it is a Renaissance water tank with an octagonal pool and four blind channels which meet inside Valverde hill, and four tanks. This masterpiece was designed by the famous architect Tommaso Laureti to feed the elegant Neptune Fountain at Piazza Maggiore. The visit is really amazing and gives the opportunity to discover Bologna fascinating undergrouds and glorious past.
The second location, San Zama, is considered Bologna first cathedral. According to the legend St. Peter himself named and blessed the first building, which was certainly a gathering place for the first Christians of Bologna. San Zama, bishop of Bologna, in 270 AD reinforced the building and entitled it to St. Peter. The crypt was certainly created in the XI century and it s divided in three naves with three apses with two row of columns in the middle nave. Some materials of construction date back to the Roman times and certainly come from other buildings. As all Romanesque churches it is quite dark and this creates a mystic and mysterious atmosphere which takes you back to the middle ages.
A visit to Bologna is incomplete without a tour of its fascinating undergrounds!
Photos: Conserva di Valverde and Cripta S. Zama photo by Massimo Brunelli - Amici delle vie d'acqua e dei sotterranei di Bologna