San Luca church, Bologna
Leave the city behind by following the longest uninterrupted arcade in the world up into the hills to the San Luca Monastery.
The arcade starts at Porta Saragozza and winds its way across roads and up to reach the monastery which looks over Bologna.
Its a pleasant walk, not too strenuous and the arcade provides shade on a hot or rainy day. At the top there is a pizza restaurant - be warned though, they only serve sandwiches during the day.
After a rest and exploring the monastery, turn round and walk back down - its easer on the way down.
The Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca is situated on the Mount Gardia. Built in the XI century and much enlarged in XIV and XVIII. The interior contains works of different masters but most important is painting of Madonna with Child (Greek painting from XII century) attributed to the evangelist Luca. The best way to visit this Sanctuary and place of pilgrim is by foot because there is great portico. The portico starts out from the Gate (Porta) of Saragozza and leads up to the Sancturay. It was built in XVII century.
The walk up to San Luca is long but well worth the effort, it is all under cover from sun or rain. The famous porticoes are very pretty despite their age. One of the most important portico is no doubt this one up to S.Luca, it is the longest in the world and links the city to the Sanctuary of Madonna di S.Luca, stretching for three and half kilometres over the hill of Monte della Guardia. In the Sanctuary there is a Madonna icon made from the evangelista Luca as people used to say. This is a very famous site not only for tourists, but also for the people of Bologna who used to climb these porticos in faith, for fun and also for jogging.
By night both Basilica and portico are lit up in order to be clearly visible.