Overlooking even Bologna’s Two Towers is Bologna’s Madonna di San Luca.
The foothills close to the city are a patchwork of woodland and small fields.
From the town and Porta Saragozza we took the arcade Portico di San Luca, which was finished in 1793 after over 100 years of construction and leads upwards into the foothills.
This is a pilgrimage route from the town up to the sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca and we passed a substantial group of pilgrims comprised mainly of children.
The Sanctuary which was started in 1194 and eventually finished in around 1774 sits on a low hill and houses a 12th-century icon. Immediately behind the altar in the 18thc baroque church is the icon. Apparently, the Icon caused a continuous rainfall of three months of non-stop rain to stop when it was carried to the Cathedral in the 15thc. The arcade of 3.8km that we walked under was built to protect the Icon during its annual journey. Each May it makes a journey from its home down to the Cathedral of San Pietro in the city centre.