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Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca (Santuario della Madonna di San Luca) Tours

Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca (Santuario della Madonna di San Luca)
Perched on Colle della Guardia 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) southwest of Bologna’s historic center, the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca (Santuario della Madonna di San Luca) was built to house a Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary. Its portico, running from the city’s Porta Saragozza to the hilltop sanctuary, is the longest covered arcade in the world.
 
The Basics
There has been a church on this spot since the 12th century, though the current Santuario della Madonna di San Luca dates from the 1700s. San Luca’s roofed arcade, consisting of 666 elegant arches and 15 chapels, was built between 1674 and 1793 to protect the sanctuary’s precious icon during religious processions; today it’s a pretty uphill route climbing the over 900 feet (300 meters) in altitude between the historic center and the church. Once at the church, you can admire a number of important works by artists, including Guido Reni and Guercino, in addition to the famed Madonna and Child icon.
 
The Santuario della Madonna di San Luca is one of the most important churches in Bologna, and city walking or bike tours often include the trip uphill under its famous covered portico, along with attractions like Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica of San Petronio, the Two Towers, and the churches of Santo Stefano and San Domenico. 
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Bologna walking and cycling tours require significant time outdoors, so dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. Visitors are required to wear modest attire that covers shoulders and knees to enter the sanctuary.
  • Photography without flash is allowed inside, though the sanctuary is a pilgrimage site,  so taking photographs during Mass or other religious services is discouraged.
  • The Portico di San Luca and the entrance to the sanctuary church have a number of steps—they’re not accessible to wheelchair users.
  • Though the ascent is gradual, the route along the portico from Bologna’s center to the sanctuary is uphill and should only be undertaken by those in good physical condition.
 
How to Get There
The Santuario della Madonna di San Luca is located about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) outside the historic center of Bologna. On foot or bike, follow the covered Portico di San Luca from Porta Saragozza to the church; by car, drive up Colle della Guardia, the road that skirts the portico.  
 
When to Get There
The walk from the Bologna’s center to the outlying sanctuary is one of the prettiest in the city, one that’s especially pleasant on clear, mild days. The church closes at midday on weekdays and Saturdays, but stays open all day on Sundays and Catholic holidays.

The Miraculous Madonna
The sanctuary’s 12th-century icon depicting Mother and Child is one of the most precious religious objects in Bologna, said to have saved the city from torrential rain in 1433. Since then, an annual procession, held on the Saturday preceding the fifth Sunday after Easter, celebrates the miraculous Madonna. The icon is taken from the sanctuary and transported under the covered portico first to the Cathedral of San Pietro and then to the Basilica of San Petronio, where it stays for a week before returning to its home up the hill.
Address: 36 Via di San Luca, Bologna 40135, Italy
Admission: Free
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4 Tours and Activities to Experience Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca (Santuario della Madonna di San Luca)

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San Luca Experience Guided Tour With Ascent By Panoramic Train

San Luca Experience Guided Tour With Ascent By Panoramic Train

star-5
What makes this guided tour unique is the view of Bologna from above, the history of the sanctuary and the view of the longest portico in the world. The journey will be made by the San luca Express train which connects the city to the Sanctuary in a panoramic way
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$123.40
Price varies by group size
From
$123.40
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

San Luca Experience Tour and Food Tasting

San Luca Experience Tour and Food Tasting

star-5
The Basilica of San Luca is one of the symbols of the city of Bologna. Located on Monte Guardia, the sanctuary connects the city center through the longest continuous port in the world, consisting of 666 arches. At the meeting point you will receive from a member of our staff a map and a table with the times of the return train, available every 45 minutes. At the end a person of our staff will accompany you inside the historical market for a fabulous tasting of typical products and a glass of wine. This tour starts every day and will help you discover the city on board the San Luca Express train, on which the audio guides, available in 8 languages, will tell you the history of the city until you arrive at the Basilica of San Luca. You will have the opportunity to visit this sacred place at your own pace and you will be able to decide at what time to return by consulting the timetables on the map. On board you will find staff who will welcome you and answer your questions
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$34.67
Price varies by group size
From
$34.67
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

E-Bike tour on the hills of Bologna

E-Bike tour on the hills of Bologna

star-5
See a side of Bologna that many visitors overlook—and enjoy unparalleled views of the city—with this electric bike tour. Pick between morning and afternoon tour times, and set off with just a small group for company. You’ll visit photogenic green spaces like the Parco Giardini Margherita and Parco di Villa Ghigi, will admire city panoramas, and will even bike to the hilltop Sanctuary of San Luca.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$90.53
From
$90.53

Bologna Full Day Private Tour

Bologna Full Day Private Tour

A full day in the city of Bologna visiting all the major attractions of the city together with a private guide It starts in the morning with a guided tour of the city with a certified expert guide. During the visit it will be possible to climb to the Asinelli towers. We continue with a typical lunch in a historic trattoria in the city and afterwards together with the guide you can go up to San luca with the train included in the price and visit the beautiful Basilica and enjoy the fantastic panorama. Upon returning, a delicious homemade ice cream
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  • 6 to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$217.28
Price varies by group size
From
$217.28
Price varies by group size

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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What's the best way to experience Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca (Santuario della Madonna di San Luca)?