Almost twenty years later, the statue of San Petronio made in 1683 by Gabriele Brunelli will soon return to the basilica that bears his name. Since 2001, at the behest of the Guazzaloca junta and Cardinal Bifi, it was decided to move the statue of the saint under the Two Towers.
Historically, the statue was initially located under the Tow Towers and had remained there until 1871 when it was decided to remove it and pace it in the basilica where it stood for more than a century. The work is owned by the Curia which, in 2001, entrusted it to the City Council. They in turn, arranged for its transfer to Piazza Ravegnana with the commitment to return it one day. And now that day is coming.
The operation will take place in March and is expected to be particularly complex. On the one hand, the statue must be packaged up, removed and transferred to San Petronio, whilst on the other, an exact copy will made from Carrara marble will reoccupy the empty pedestal. All this will take no less than eight days, including scaffolding, removal and organizing traffic. It’s a move that can no longer be postponed due to the health of the saint, severely tested by fine dust, pigeon dirt, and vandalism. The exact date will be decided on January 14, by the Superintendency of the Belle Arte and which will include representatives of the Municipality, the Curia and the basilica.
Don Oreste Leonardi confirmed the timing: “Around the middle of the month we will know the date of the move. Meanwhile the chapel San Rocco is ready to welcome the return of the statue.” The chapel, the eighth on the left nave, has undergone restoration works in recent times and today is completely new. “The walls have been painted, the floor, decorations and the window have been restored.” While in the center stands the large painting ‘San Rocco and a donor’ by Parmigia Nino, and the imposing pedestal that awaits Petronius remains empty. The Mayor’s office has been following the story directly and confirmed that the archdiocese was the architect of the operation being an intermediary between the Municipality and the Basilica.
The costs are all borne by Palazzo d’Accursio: 25,000 euros for the double move and replica operation, as previously explained by councilor Davide Conte at the end of November 2019 budget hearing. He further suggested that the time for the operation was therefore ripe.