Portico di San Luca

April 3, 2008 / Places
Known as La Dotta (the wise) for its historic university founded in 1088, and La Grassa (the fat) for its incredible cuisine, Bologna is also famous as the city where umbrellas are not needed, thanks to an ingenious network of covered sidewalks or porticos.

The longest and most spectacular of these porticos climbs to the top of Monte della Guardia on the outskirts of Bologna from which the circular Santuario di San Luca (photo 4, below) guards the city.

Beginning at Porta Saragozza, Bologna’s south-western gate, the portico’s 650+ arches stretch for over two miles. The uphill leg begins at the impressive Meloncello archway (photo 2, left) and continues past frescoed chapels and numerous memorial plaques honoring patrons, affording quite lovely views of the landscape below.

Since its mention in John Grisham’s “The Broker”, the “Portico Trek” is fast becoming a must-do for visitors. Besides, in Bologna you’ll be hard pressed to find a better way to work off all that great food!

Mary Jane Cryan

by Mary Jane Cryan

A resident in Italy for half a century, Mary Jane writes for Italian and English magazines, guidebooks, and has authored several books about central Italy.  She published two books last year  “The Irish and English in Italy’s Risorgimento ” and  Etruria – travel, history and itineraries in Central Italy .  Check  her award winning website www.elegantetruria.com for reviews and to order signed  copies.    Etruria  Storie e Segreti,  in Italian and  in full color, has just been released .  Signed copies   of   Mary Jane’s books can be ordered directly from her website  www.elegantetruria.com 

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