SANCTUARY OF SAN LUCA - BOLOGNA
As a traditional religious object of cult linked to the devotion of the image of the Blessed Virgin of St. Luca as well as comforting visual landmark for the Bolognese returning home, the sanctuary located on the Colle della Guardia is one of the symbols of the city itself.
The over 600 arches of the portico, unique in the world for its length of almost four kilometers (3,796 m), connect the sanctuary to the city and provide shelter for the yearly procession that since 1433 leads the Byzantine Madonna and Child to the cathedral in the city centre during the Ascension week. Its construction began in 1674 with the building of the Bonaccorsi archway by G. G. Monti over Porta Saragozza.
From the city center there is a path, which reaches the Sanctuary of San Luca, the traditional destination for religious pilgrimages linked to the devotion of the Blessed Virgin. The route offers the opportunity to know the arcades of Bologna, candidates to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The arcade that connects Porta Saragozza to The Sanctuary of San Luca is the longest in the world. Within its 3,5 km there are 666 arches, each marked by a number: the first 306 connect Porta Saragozza to Meloncello Arch, while the last 360 are located in the hilly area from Meloncello to Colle della Guardia. These are spaced out by 15 chapels illustrating the mystery of the rosary.The route includes an excursion in the Park Talon. Starting from Piazza Maggiore, passing through the Fontana del Nettuno, you reach the church of S. Martino di Casalecchio di Reno in via Porrettana with the bus 20 and continue along the path of the Bregoli in the Parco della Chiusa (known as Park Talon from the name of Villa Talon Sampieri), from where you arrive at the Sanctuary of San Luca. The return includes the descent along the arcade that leads to Meloncello's Arch and then along via Saragozza, passing through Porta Saragozza, you arrive at the Collegio di Spagna and from via de' Carbonesi, continuing in via Massimo d'Azeglio you are back at Piazza Maggiore.