From Venezia Santa Lucia I took a train to Bologna to spend the weekend there. My Airbnb apartment was located in Bolognina, a very lively and multiculti part of Bologna. But more to that in another post. The next day was Sunday, “La Festa della Mamma” and after having walked into the city centre I took the San Luca Express (a little electrical train) to go up the Basilica Santuario della Madonna di San Luca, which lies on a hill a little bit outside the city.
After a short drive through the city centre, we went up!
The road (now) goes along 666 roofed arches – with 3,8 km length the longest Portico worldwide.
Built in 1674-1793. It was meant to protect the icon as it was paraded up the hill. A yearly procession from the Cathedral of San Pietro in the centre of Bologna to the Sanctuary goes along this path. Originally the arches held icons or chapels erected by the patron family. Wikipedia
A church or chapel had existed for over a 1000 years on Monte della Guardia, the present basilica has been built in 1723 and reminded me a little bit of a lighthouse – it must be visible from afar. And houses the Icon of Virgin Mary, allegedly painted by Luke the Evangelist.
The view over the area surrounding Bologna and the city itself is just breathtaking!
And after a while, I made my way back through the 666 arcades to the city. Even so, it was built to protect the yearly procession it also protects you from the sun (or the rain). And there are quite a few things to discover while walking, doors going somewhere, little chapels and of course the view!
And on this point, I´ve returned to the city and there appeared bars, restaurants, gelaterias and other shops in the arcades.
Almost four kilometres later I´ve reached arcade #1. And was ready to explore the inner city!