Welcome is Bologna

The porticoes of Bologna

MAP

Nominated to be declared a UNESCO “world heritage site", the porticoes of Bologna, almost 40 kmlong, make the city of Bologna  truly unique. Ever since 1100, when the growth of the University led to the need for new urban spaces, the porticoes have become private and public locations where people can socialise and trade, an open-air salon symbol of Bologna’s hospitality.

By taking a stroll through the city, you can encounter and appreciate various types of porticoes. From the wooden ones, such as the 13th century casa Isolani in strada Maggiore and the porticoes of via Marsala, to the 14th century "beccadelli”, semi-porticoes without columns, such as the one present on the rear façade of Palazzo d'Accursio and in Palazzo Ghisilardi-Fava. Very well known is the very high portico “dei Bastardini” in via D’Azeglio, so called because under its vaults, until 1797, the orphanage was located, as well as the portico of the Archiginnasio, known as “Pavaglione”.

The widest portico of the city is the four-sided portico of the basilica of S.Maria dei Servi in Strada Maggiore, designed at the end of the 14th century, the highest is in via Altabella where the archiepiscopal building has a porch touching 10 metres, and the narrowest, with its 95 cm, is located in via Sanzanome.

Beyond the avenues the long porticoed path of via Saragozza begins, which is the start of the most famous portico in the city as well as the longest in the world, leading to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca. From the first arch of porta Saragozza (Bonaccorsi), you arrive halfway to the Arco del Meloncello and then go up to Monte della Guardia. The portico is made up of 664 arches and measures almost 4 km

DOWNLOAD THE FREE ITINERARY IN OTHER LANGUAGES

Die Arkaden von Bologna   Les Arcades de Bologne   Pórticos de Bolonia  

БОЛОНСКИЕ ПОРТИКИ 

The porticoes of Piazza Maggiore and the seat of the old University

The porticoes of Piazza Maggiore and the seat of the old University

This magnificent square, which started being built in the 13th century, is characterized by porched buildings on three sides. The gothic arches of Palatium Bladi on the western side. The portico of the Bentivoglio family's Palazzo del Podestà on the northern side. The portico of the Banchi, designed by Jacopo Barozzi (Il Vignola) and built from 1565, stands out on the eastern side. The portico of the Banchi is followed by that of the Hospital of Death,  next to this is the portico of Archiginnasio, the seat of the university during the Counter-reformation years.

The wooden porticoes of Via Marsala

The wooden porticoes of Via Marsala

The stretch of via Marsala between via Oberdan and via Piella is characterized by the wooden porticoes of Casa Grassi (which originally had a loggia twice as long as the current one) and of the opposite Boncompagni houses, a typical example of residential architecture of Bologna from the 13th century, adapted to the culture of the end of the 19th century.

The commercial portico of Via dell’Indipendenza

The commercial portico of Via dell’Indipendenza

With the opening of Via dell’ Indipendenza (1888), a new type of portico is introduced, mainly for commercial purposes. The new buildings that were designed for this road that connects Piazza Maggiore to the new railway station and for via Rizzoli and Ugo Bassi define modern spaces, and are different from the structures of more traditional porches, considered dangerous or unhealthy. Porches get higher and wider and their design is influenced by Neo-Renaissance or Neo-Gothic models, with floral decorations, as is the case with the portico of the Majani palace by Augusto Sezanne, at no. 4.

Photo by Di Grinza

The porticoes of Via Santa Cristina, a residential working class area

The porticoes of Via Santa Cristina, a residential working class area

In some areas of the city that expanded during the 14th century there are still long porticoes, well preserved and built according to monastic allotment plans. They are also to be found in the following streets:  Mirasole, Tovaglie and Solferino, San Leonardo, Centotrecento and Santa Caterina.
In particular Via Santa Caterina is characterized by a portico architecture that is extremely simple, with no arches and with architraves, a functional solution for the production and artisan activities that were carried out there.

The portico of San Luca

The portico of San Luca

Outside Porta Saragozza, the portico of San Luca stretches along via Saragozza and via San Luca and was built between the 17th and the 18th century as a covered devotional route to the sanctuary of the Holy Virgin of San Luca, starting from the initial loggia (the so-called “Bonaccorsi arch”) that is placed on the borderline of the walled-up town.  The portico, which is 3,796 metres long and is divided into 15 pilgrimage stations, was built in the second half of the 17th century (from 1764) and designed by Gian Giacomo Monti. It consists of two different parts: a flat part (1,520 m) and a hilly one (2,776 m, that was completed only in the early 18th century under the supervision of Giovanni Antonio Conti). The two parts are connected by the Meloncello arch, built by Carlo Francesco Dotti in 1732.