There are several churches in Italy that just bring you a different, awe-inspiring feeling when you visit. There is a serenity, a strong vibe of peace or joy or even melancholy sometimes. The Santuario della Madonna di San Luca is a place that brings me a feeling of wonder and calmness. It stands high on a hill above Bologna to protect the
city, so maybe that is why I feel such a sense of safety.
Designed by Carlo Francesco Dotti between 1723-1758, and consecrated in 1765. The two lateral tribunes on either side of the main building were added in 1774. An earlier church existed on the same hill as early as 1194. It is possible to drive to San Luca, but it perhaps best known for the 3.5K walk up the path of 666 arches and covered porticos to the top. There is an annual procession on august 15 for the feast of the Assumption, where a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary is carried from San Petronio, back to the basilica.
You climb the spiral steps up to enter the church, pausing to see the gorgeous views of Bologna and the surrounding hills.
Once inside, the church is stunning with it's dome, carvings, frescos and altar.
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