Visit San Luca, a walk along the longest portico in the world.
The Sanctuary of Madonna di San Luca or just San Luca for the Bolognese is not only a place of worship but a real point in the habits of those who live in Bologna. Returning home from a trip, the view of the sanctuary on the Guardia’s hill tells us that the destination is near.
Getting to San Luca following the colonnade of Saragozza street is an experience not to be missed.
The walk of nearly 4 kilometres on foot is for many Bolognese a consolidated habit. Often is possible encountering brave people that face quest in bicycle or running. The magical atmosphere is made even more interesting by knowing it’s the longest portico in Europe!
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We said it is the longest portico in the world but there is more to know. It was built in the 17th century and its purpose was to ease the procession of the Madonna con Bambino icon from San Luca down to the Church of San Petronio.
The procession is repeated every year from 1433, along the 3.7 km you pass through 666 arches and 15 chapels. Number 666 is not random and contains a strong symbolism. The road that go down from the Guardia hill represents the devil crushed by the Madonna during his descent from the Church of San Luca.
In fact, the ascent to San Luca is often used as purification path or pledge to pay for the mistakes committed. After the arduous climb there is a wonderful reward waiting for you. The sanctuary is built in a magnificent baroque style and inside you can see the icon of Madonna col Bambino. However, the true treasure that awaits you at the end of the trip is the beautiful panorama of Bologna with its red roofs that at sunset look like a sea of flames stretched toward the horizon.