Outside the walls for those who stay a few more days …
From the city center we get to Porta Saragozza, where you can find the longest portico in the world ( 3.796 meters) that connect the city to the Sanctuary of San Luca.
The original legends recount that the spring in 400 was so rainy that people in Bologna entrusted themselves to Queen Mary, bringing the icon of Madonna and Child, kept in Custody in the Sanctuary. As soon the icon has entered into city the rain stopped. From that episode on, every year the parade is repited, starting from the Sanctuary until the city, and the more the year passed by, from 1674 to 1721, it has been decided to build a portico to protect the worshippers from the rain during the parade.
The Portico contains totally 666 arches, not by chance the devil’s number: the longest portico in the world would in fact represent the snake, the evil, that gets eclipsed by the beauty and the strenght of the Sanctuary, and the Madonna.
The Sanctuary of San Luca, whose dominant style is baroque, is set up on top of Colle della Guardia (approximately 300 metres high) it is dedicated to the Catholic Marian movement. You can already notice its profile when you are in proximity to Bologna, when one is still traveling on the highway. For the people from Bologna is in fact a reference point, it is the awareness to already be at home.
Sanctuary Tickets: free
Panoramic terrace: accessed with the San Luca Sky Experience Card, which includes the donation of € 5.
Donation reduced to € 3:
– children aged 10 to 18
– over 65
– children under 10 in a family context
– disabled people
– holders of Bologna Welcome Card PLUS
Visiting hours of the sanctuary (may vary):
Weekday: 7.00 – 18.00 from November to February / 7.00 – 19.00 from March to October
On weekdays the Sanctuary is closed from 12.30 to 14.30
Holidays: 7.00 – 18.00 from November to February / 7.00 – 19.00 from March to October
During religious services, the tourist visit could be limited or suspended.
Visiting hours of the panoramic terrace (may vary):
Summer opening hours (from March 1st to October 31st) Monday-Saturday: 9: 30-12: 30 and 14: 00-19: 00
Sunday: 9: 30-19: 00
Winter opening hours (from November 1st to February 28th):
Monday-Saturday: 9: 30-12: 30 and 14: 00-18: 00
Sunday: 9: 30-18: 00
N.B. the entrance to the terrace will be allowed up to 15 minutes before closing to allow visitors to stay on the panoramic point of at least 15 minutes. Continuous access and without reservation.
The “Giardini Margherita” is the best known and most popular of the Bolognese public parks, a few steps from the historic center, between Via Murri and Via Castiglione. Designed by the Piedmontese Sambuy, to provide Bologna with a large public green space following the example of the major Italian and European cities, it was inaugurated in 1879 with the name of Passeggio Regina Margherita (in homage to the wife of Umberto I).
The gardens, which have an area of 26 hectares, retain much of their original layout, vaguely inspired by English romantic parks. There was the artificial lake with its rocky shores of selenite (the gypsum from the hilly vein). There was a wooden chalet used as a refreshment point for the public, located on the nearby square. There were gravel roads, winding around the pond, and numerous side paths. It was also possible to go by boat on the water, and indeed you can still see the steps that descended from the bridge to the boats. The old chalet has been lost, and today’s one stands right on the water. A stopping point for visitors, a romantic view of the lake, a summer disco: this is certainly still the heart of the park. But there is no shortage of facilities of all kinds in the area. For the little ones, well-equipped stations for fun, including the working carousel, benches, drinking water fountains, ice cream and soft drinks kiosks, tennis courts, toilets, telephone booths, make the park a beloved meeting point.
The park is open to the public 24 hours a day.
How to get there: It can be accessed on foot or by bicycle, and can be reached with lines n. 32, 33, 38, 39 all within walking distance of 4 Star on Viale Angelo Masini.