Santuario della Madonna di San Luca

Architecture & Buildings

Europe, Italy, Bologna

The Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca is a basilica church in Bologna, northern Italy, sited atop Colle or Monte della Guardia, in a forested hill some 300 meters above the plain, just south-west of the historical center of the city. While a road now leads up to the sanctuary, it is also possible to reach it by traversing a long (3.5 km) monumental roofed arcade (Portico di San Luca) consisting of 666 arches, which was built in 1674-1793. It was meant to protect the icon as it was paraded up the hill. A yearly procession proceed from the church of San Pietro in the center of Bologna to the Sanctuary along this path. Originally the arches held icons or chapels erected by the patron family. The Sanctuary was meant to house a miraculous icon of the virgin. A church or chapel existed atop the hill for about a thousand years. The present church was constructed in 1723 using designs of Carlo Francesco Dotti. The lateral external tribunes were built by Carlo Francesco's son Giovanni Giacomo using his father's plans. The centrally planned sanctuary has painted artworks by Domenico Pestrini, Donato Creti (2nd chapel on right); Guido Reni (Assumption in 3rd altar on right), Giuseppe Mazza in chapel of St. Anthony of Padua, Vittorio Bigari (frescoes), and Guercino (sacristy). Stucco works are by A. Borelli and G. Calegari and statues by A. Piò.