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Corte Isolani

Area of historical interest, Bologna

Corte Isolani: Attraction informations

Corte Isolani is probably one of the most peculiar places in Bologna. This long indoor passage connects Piazza Santo Stefano and Strada Maggiore, the main artery of the city centre that traces the old Via Emilia, of which some parts are still visible in the basements of houses and shops.

At its starting point, in Strada Maggiore, Corte Isolani is decorated with one of the oldest gothic wooden porticos of the city. This portico beholds one of the most famous anecdotes of the city: looking above the entrance we can see three arrows stuck in its ceiling.

As the legend goes, a noble lady was accused of adultery; her husband, being a jealous man, hired a few hitmen to kill both her and her lover. The lady though, being smart, soon understood her husband’s intentions and, upon hearing her name called from the street, looked out of the window, stark-naked. Apparently, the hitmen where taken by surprise by this very unusual image and fired completely out of aim, leaving the proof of their incapacity stuck into the ceiling.

Along the passage we can nowadays find restaurants, hairdressers, bars, art-galleries, small courtyards and much more. At the central part of the passage we can see the Maurizio Carpanelli Art Gallery. This art gallery was founded to display the work of Carpanelli and is nowadays one of the main operative art galleries in Italy.

The passage was opened after a massive restoration undergone in 1995. An imposing building built by the Bolognini family in the mid-15th century and acquired by the Isolani, who wanted to increase their properties, overlooks the entrance from Piazza Santo Stefano.