San Lazzaro Church

San Lazzaro Church

The building is all that is left of the leper hospital erected at the end of the 12th century.

Ownership: Municipality of Modena

Like many of the old hospitals in Emilia at that time, it was built in the eastern area of the city: these leper colonies were in fact also used to quarantine foreigners from the East, who had to obtain a clean bill of health before entering the city. Also during the plague, these buildings were considered the best places to house the suffering, since westerly winds were believed to be the main cause of the epidemics. Building the hospital to the east ensured that once the winds had blown over the lazar house, they didn’t pass over the rest of the city.

The interior is home to a cycle of frescoes, executed in 1523 by Adamo and Agostino Setti, as part of major renovations to the complex. Fourteen episodes from the life of San Lazarus and Mary Magdalene line the walls, while on either side of the portal is the Holy Family and Saint John the Baptist with Saint Geminianus.

Opening hours

Currently closed for restoration work.