Welcome is Bologna

Santuario di San Luca

St. Luke’s Sactuary

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

Phone +39 051 6142339

Reference maps: M-9

Date of last update: 19/03/2018, 13:56

The faithful traditionally journey here to worship before the painting of the Virgin of St. Luca. the shrine located on top of Guardia hill is both a reassuring visual landmark for the Bolognese returning homeand a symbol of the city itself. 

The porticoed arcade has more than 600 vaults along almost four kilometres (3.8 m). It connects the shrine with the town and provides shelter for the yearly procession that since 1433 transports the Byzantine Madonna and Child to the cathedral in the city centre during Ascension week. Construction began in 1674 with the building of the Bonaccorsi archway by G. G. Monti over Porta Saragozza. 

The same architect also designed the layout of the portico at the foot of the hill, with its extremely somber and simple style. His successor, C.F. Dotti, took over in the 1720sDotti’s contribution of the higher section of the portico, closer to the shrine, is characterised by a dynamic variation of perspectives and vanishing points that lead up to the final, dramatic view of the shrine. 

The start of the climb is marked by the Meloncello Archway that crosses via Saragozza, designed by Dotti probably with the contribution of stage designer Francesco Bibiena. The aedicule with its curved plan and the recourse to the free column along with the open area outside the basilica, are the only outdoor examples of the Baroque style in the city. 

The church as we see it today 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 is fully congruous with the Bolognese tradition. It 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 frescos, 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) and Guercino (high sacristy). 

In 1930 Ferruccio Gasparri built single-pylon cable-way ran along the 220 metres slope between via Saragozza and the shrine. Controversy about the cancellation of the devotional route ensued and was resolved with the definitive closure of the cable-way. 

As of April 7th, 2017, thanks to "Succede solo a Bologna", you can reach the small panoramic terrace of the San Luca Sancturary. 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 (300m above sea level) -  it is possible to enjoy a unique 180-degree view of Bologna, from the hills to the city centreto 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
– over 65

- children under 10 years visiting with their family
- disabled (with exception of those who have severe deambulation problems, since the access is through a spiral staircase)
- tourist guides and journalists with cards

Opening time:
From November 1st to February 28th:
–Fridays 9.30am – 12.30pm and 2.30am – 6.00pm
–Saturdays 9.30am – 12.30pm and 2.30am – 6.30pm
–Sundays 9.30am – 6.30pm

From March 1st to March 31st and from July 1st to October 31st
-From Wednesdays to Saturdays 9.30am – 12.30pm and 2.30am – 7.00pm
Sundays 9.30am – 7.00pm

 From April 1st to June 30th
– From Mondays to Saturdays 9.30am – 12.30pm and 2.30am – 7.00pm
– Sundays: 9.30am – 7.00pm

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

Santuario di San Luca