A walk under San Luca’s arcade in Bologna, the longest in the world

17 Sep 2018

From the historical center, along the arcade of the records, up to the hill of the Basilica of San Luca. Bologna is famous in the world for being the city of the arcades, all very old and with specific functions at the service of the Bolognese walks. The arcade is considered as the longest in the world thanks to its 3,796 meters characterized by 666 arches and 15 chapels along its extension, a pleasant walk that we recommend doing to admire its art and its history during a weekend in Bologna.

Colle della Guardia, the hill on which the Basilica stands, has an affective value for the citizens of Bologna, who can see it from the highway just before taking the direction to their beloved city, a true synonym of “home”. From the top of the hill, you can enjoy the panorama of the entire Emilian capital with its towers; here the Sanctuary of San Luca stands, a beautiful basilica in perfect Baroque style, which houses a precious representation of the Madonna and Child, which, once a year, is brought to the city in the Basilica of San Petronio with a procession. And it’s thanks to this event that the entire arcade was built: it’s said that in the mid-15th century during a very rainy spring that was ruining the crops, the citizens of Bologna turned to the Madonna asking her the cessation of the continuous storms. And at the exact moment when the Madonna of San Luca’s icon entered the city to be revered, it stopped raining. Since that day, the procession was repeated every year.

Initially the path was paved and then they decided to cover it with the arcade to protect the procession from the rain that was often present in that period. The citizens often walk this walk from the hill to the center, starting from Arch of Meloncello in Via Saragozza, to vote or simply to relive the magic of the Bolognese tradition. The number of arches (666) is not casual: it’s in fact the number of the devil, as well as the shape of the arcade that recalls a snake, the symbol of the devil. The path that starts from the bottom of the center of Bologna and that winds upwards climbing the Colle della Guardia is a metaphor: the devil is dominated by Madonna di San Luca, which is in a high position not only on a figurative level but also on a physical one.

At the end of the long walk that starts from the hill, we suggest you look for refreshment in Bologna downtown, delighting your palates in the city restaurants, which serve the typical dishes of Bolognese cuisine, considered as the best in the world.