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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: 09/07/2018, 11:09

As a traditional religious object of cult linked to the devotion of the image of the Blessed Virgin of St. Luca as well as comforting visual landmark for the Bolognese returning home, the sanctuary located on the Colle della Guardia is one of the symbols of the city itself.

The over 600 arches of the portico, unique in the world for its length of almost four kilometers (3,796 m), connect the sanctuary to the city and provide shelter for the yearly procession that since 1433 leads the Byzantine Madonna and Child to the cathedral in the city centre during the Ascension week. Its 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 moderate and simple style, which was followed by his successor, C.F. Dotti, starting from the 1720s. Dotti’s contribution, which is expressed in the final section of the portico, is characterised by a dynamic variation of perspectives and vanishing points that lead up to the final, dramatic view of the sanctuary.

The start of the path uphill is highlighted by the Meloncello Archway that crosses via Saragozza, designed by Dotti probably with the contribution of the stage designer Francesco Bibiena. This niche, with its curved plan and that uses the free column, represents, together with the open area in front of the basilica, the only outdoor example 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 in a Greek cross culminating in the main altar that stands before the chapel of the Virgin. The decorations were commissioned to V. Bigari for the frescos, A. Borelli and G. Calegari for the stuccoes and A. Piò for the statues. Among the additional artists decorating the church who are worth mentioning, the most important are Guido Reni (third altar to the right), Donato Creti (second chapel to the right), Giuseppe Mazza (chapel of St. Antonio da Padova) and Guercino (major sacristy).
In 1930 Ferruccio Gasparri built a single-pylon cable-way running along the 220 metres slope between via Saragozza and the sanctuary. The controversy concerning the cancellation of the devotional route by foot was resolved with the definitive closure of the cable-way itself.

As of April 7th, 2017, thanks to the association "Succede solo a Bologna", it is now possible to reach the small panoramic terrace of the San Luca Sanctuary by the 100+ steps of the ancient spiral staircases leading 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 hillsides to the city centre, up to Casalecchio di Reno.

details in entrance notes

by bus: lines and timetables on the website www.tper.it. From Villa Spada you can continue with bus 58. For further information please visit www.tper.it/content/linea-58-villa-spada-basilica-di-san-luca


by car: ring road exits  No 1-2,  direction city center

by car sharing: you can reach your destination by yourself with Auting, a peer to peer car sharing service. Let’s search for the car that best suits your needs on auting.it  get in touch with the owner and let’s start your trip!

by car sharing: you can reach your destination by yourself with Auting, a peer to peer car sharing service. Let’s search for the car that best suits your needs on auting.it  get in touch with the owner and let’s start your trip!


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