Giovanni Lattanzi

A model tomb stands just west of the center in the rotunda of the Bologna church, in line with the off-center Tomb in the Rotunda of the Holy Sepulchre. The Bologna tomb is apparently based on the Tomb aedicula that graced the 11th-century Jerusalem church. But because the Jerusalem Tomb was rebuilt in the 12th century and the Bologna tomb has suffered many alterations (including the attachment of the pulpit on the left side), it is now difficult to enumerate the parallels.

In Jerusalem, the 11th-century aedicula was based roughly on Constantine’s design and consisted of a rectangular entryway and a rounded western structure enclosing the burial chamber. Like the 11th-century Jerusalem tomb-shrine, the Bologna model has a low entryway covered with a grille, is covered in marble and is decorated on each side with engaged columns. The size of the Bologna tomb may also reflect the Jerusalem prototype.

Reliefs depicting scenes at Jesus’ Tomb appear on the exterior of the Bologna tomb; they were added in a late 13th- or 14th-century remodelling of the tomb. Inside the tomb, on the right, appears a cenotaph corresponding to Jesus’ burial bench in the Jerusalem Tomb; on the left, however, is the tomb of San Petronio, legendary founder of the Italian church.