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Santuario di San Luca

Via di San Luca, 36 - 40135 Bologna (BO)

Phone +39 051 6142339

Reference maps: M-9

Date of last update: 14/09/2017, 09:32

Traditional place of worship for the presence of an image the Virgin of St. Luca as well as reassuring visual landmark for Bolognese approaching town, the shrine located on top of Guardia hill is one of Bologna's symbol.

An arcade with more than 600 vaults - unique for its length covering almost four kilometres (3,796 m) - connects the shrine with the town and provide a shelter for the procession which every year since 1433 has brought the Byzantine Madonna with Child to the cathedral downtown during the Ascension week. Construction started in 1674 with the building of the Bonaccorsi archway by G. G. Monti over Saragozza Gateway.

The same architect was also assigned the designing of the final project for the layout of the arcade at the foot of the hill, with extremely sober and simple style, later followed by his successor C.F. Dotti, starting from the second decade of the 18th century. The end part of the arcade on top of the hill, designed by the latter, is instead characterised by a dynamic variation of perspectives and vanishing points up to the final view of the shrine.

The start of the climb is marked by the Meloncello Archway along via Saragozza, designed by Dotti with the likely contribution of the stage designer Francesco Bibiena. The aedicule with its curved plan and the recourse to the free column represents, together with the open area outside the basilica, the only outdoor example of Baroque in town.

Today's church was built by Dotti between 1723 and 1757 in place of an earlier 15th-century church, while the two outside tribunes were brought to completion by his son Giovanni Giacomo in 1774. The outside structure fully in tune with the Bolognese tradition, is devoid of emphatic and solemn decorations, displaying the characteristically simple curve profile supporting the dome. The indoor structure with an elliptic plan opens up in a Greek cross ending with the main altar standing before the chapel of the Virgin. Decorations are made by V. Bigari for frescoes, A. Borelli and G. Calegari for stuccoes and A. Piò for the statues. Of the artists decorating the church the most important are G. Reni (third altar on the right), D. Creti (second chapel on the right), G. Mazza (chapel of S. Antonio da Padova), Guercino (high sacristy).
In 1930 Ferruccio Gasparri made a cable-way which, with a single pylon, by-passed a slope of 220 metres between via Saragozza and the shrine. The controversy around the cancellation of the devotional course terminated with the final closure of the cable-way.

Starting from April 7th, 2017, thanks to "Succede solo a Bologna", it will be possible to reach the small panoramic terrace of the Santuario di San Luca. About 100 steps of the ancient spiral staircases lead up to the attic. From there - at a height of about 42 meters above the Colle della Guardia (300 mt above sea level) -  it is possible to enjoy a unique 180-degree view of Bologna, from the hills to the city centre, up to Casalecchio di Reno.

details in entrance notes


In order to reach the panoramic viewpoint you need the "San Luca Sky Experience Card",  a donation of € 5 is required.

Reducted donation € 3:

- young people 10 to 18 years
- members of Succede solo a Bologna association
- schools

- children under 10 years visiting with their family
- tourist guides and journalists with cards

Opening time:
Wednesday, Thursday Friday and Saturday: 9,30am - 12,30pm / 2,30pm - 7pm.
Sunday: 9,30am - 12,30pm /1,30pm - 7pm.

You can access without reservation to the viewpoint.

For group with turistic guide please contact: sanluca@succedesoloabologna.it


From Mon. to Sat.: 7 a.m – 6 p.m. from November to February / 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. from March to October
On working days the Sanctuary is closed from 12,30 p.m. to 2,30 pm. Sundays and Public Holidays: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. from November to February / 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. from March to October

During the religious services, the tourist visit could be limited or suspended. Opening times can be subjected to little changes. For further information please call: Curia Arcivescovile tel. 051 6480611

Downlodable documents

Santuario di San Luca