Luckily for our waistlines and our general health, Bologna had an excellent antidote to all that eating: one of the world's longest portico walks, leading from the Porta Saragozza on the edge of the city centre, to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca on a hill overlooking the town. There are 666 porticoes covering a distance of almost 4km and many steps climbing up to the 300m high summit. While the porticoes are designed to protect pilgrims from the weather, it's actually better to do the walk on a clear day because the views from the top, looking over the city and out to the mountains behind it, are beautiful. The church is also gorgeously decorated and definitely worth a visit, although the famous icon of the Madonna is a little disappointing, being practically swamped by its chunky gold frame. And as a further reward, the walk down is a lot less strenuous than the hike up!
|Looking down the steepest bit of the walk.|
|View from the Sanctuary|
|You have to continue down the other side a little to get this perfect view of the sanctuary itself.|