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Bologna see + do

The first thing most visitors notice about Bologna is the fact that almost every street is lined, usually on both sides, with arcades, or portici (the network is so extensive that you will rarely need to use an umbrella, even in the pouring rain). Though found in other Italian cities, only in Bologna have the arcades become a regular feature even of 19th- and 20th-century city blocks. The portici go back to the flourishing Middle Ages, when merchants began building extensions onto the facades of their palazzos, propped up by wooden pillars; with time, these became the stone arcades we see today. Most of the major sights—with the exception of the hilltop sanctuary of San Luca—are within easy walking distance.

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Santuario di San Luca, Bologna

A Bolognese landmark with breathtaking views, the sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca sits atop a hill two miles from the city center. Once a year, locals make...more

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Torre degli Asinelli, Bologna

More than 200 towers, built by the aristocracy as symbols of wealth and power, once pierced Bologna's skyline. Thirty remain today, many incorporated into later...more

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