San Luca, the traditional destination of religious pilgrimages linked to the devotion of the Blessed Virgin, can be reached from the centre of Bologna along two itineraries: the classic and shorter one through the porticoes and a second longer but of higher naturalistic interest through Talon park.
The first proceeds along the portico connecting Porta Saragozza to the Sanctuary of San Luca. Together with the other porticoes found around the city, it has been nominated to be declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. With a length of 3.5 km, it is the longest in the world boasting 666 archways, each with a progressive number. The last 360, from Arco del Meloncello: completed in 1732 by the architect Carlo Francesco Dotti, from this point diverge the three main porticos of Bologna: To the north, passing alongside the stadium to the Certosa (municipal cemetery); To the east, leading to the Saragozza Gate and the center of the city; To the southwest up the hill, the Portico of San Luca, leading up to the Madonna of San Luca Sanctuary.
The second itinerary starts in piazza Maggiore and finishes at the church of S. Martino in Casalecchio di Reno on bus 20. The Church of San Martino in Casalecchio di Reno was founded during the 17th century by the Frati Martiniani. For people coming from Bologna, the church may be suddenly seen after Villa Ghillini. Not so long ago the church used to overlook the entire city of Casalecchio di Reno, from the hill where the church was raised. From there, you continue along the Bregoli path inside the Sluice or Talon Park (Parco della Chiusa o Talon): the path of the Bregoli is a fascinating and picturesque historical path ( CAI no.112/A) with quite difficult slopes and a length of 1,7 Km. At the end of the path, there stands San Luca Sanctuary.
You then descend along the portico leading to Arco del Meloncello along Via Saragozza as far as Porta Saragozza. As you continue inside the walls, you arrive at the Spanish College and, from there, in Piazza Maggiore.