A municipality in the province of Bologna, situated along the via Persicetana, San Giovanni in Persiceto is located in an area where human settlements are present since prehistoric times: in fact, several finds from the Bronze Age and early Iron Age have been brought to the light during various excavations. A later times, the area was occupied by Gallic tribes, while the presence of a Roman "vicus" is certified by the surviving traces of the land division of II century B.C. (centuriazione).
The town's name honors the patron saint, in the first part, while the second part derives from the word "persiccato", indicating the drainage of marsh lands to be cultivated, which was actuated at the times of the dominion of the Abbey of Nonantola.
After the fall of the Lombard kingdom (774), the rural area was submitted to the dominion of Modena and the Abbey of Nonantola, while in the XII century it was ceded to city of Bologna, of which it followed the same fate and historical events, until it became part of the territories that belonged to the Papal States.
Sites of Interest:
- the Collegiate Church of St. John the Baptist, built from 1671 on projects of Paolo Emilio Canali with its XIX century façade, Baroque interior, with rich XVIII century stucco decorations recently restored to their former glory and houses paintings of the leading exponents of art of the province of Bologna, from the XVI to the XIX centuries (Guercino, Francesco Albani, Ercole Graziani, Ubaldo Gandolfi, Alessandro Guardassoni);
- the Town Hall, located opposite the Collegiate Church of St. John the Baptist, of the XV century, with an impressive XVIII century staircase commissioned by the architect Giuseppe Tubertini;
- the Municipal Theatre, opened in 1790 and recently restored by Giuseppe Tubertini, in collaboration with Giovanni Giacomo Dotti and Francesco Tadolini;
- the XVI century Church of Our Lady with the Belt, with its adjoining XVIII century Oratory;
- the Palace of the Holy Saviour, built in the XVIII century by Joseph Civoli and now houses the Municipal Library G.C. Croce;
- the Palazzaccio (or Abbot House), which is the oldest monument of the city, in typical medieval Bolognese style (XIII-XIV century);
- the scenic Square of Bethlehem, renamed "square of deception" for the colorful trompe l'oeil paintings of its designer Gino Pellegrini;
- the Convent of St. Francis;
- the Villa Giovannina (1504), which was designed by Sebastiano Serlio for Giovanni II Bentivoglio. Its embattled towers make it an interesting example of the transition from a medieval castle to a mansion. Inside the villa are preserved frescoes attributed to the Guercino, painted between 1617 and 1632.