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

Resident in Italy since 1965, historian, author of guides and books on Italy and Italian history, publisher, cruise ship lecturer and founder of Elegant Etruria  travel consultancy. Mary Jane was one of the first contributors to  Italian Notebook in 2007.  Sign up  for  her blog  50yearsinItaly  for more stories about life in central Italy. 

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