Portico of St. Luca, overview


The S. Luca portico is composed of 666 archways and is 3796 meters long. It was built between 1674 and 1715 based on designs by architect Giovanni Giacomo Monti.

 
Via Saragozza, vista


The portico represents quite an important solution in terms of town planning because it makes it possible to reach the hillside sanctuary on foot, staying completely under cover by following its sinuous path.

 
Via Saragozza, vista


Its building was made possible by donations from noble families, religious congregations, and private citizens, collected by Father Ludovico Generoli.

 
Via Saragozza, vista


The part of the portico located on flat ground was completed rather quickly, but the part going up the hill took approximately half a century due to the difficulty of the job. The portico had to climb 200 meters up to the sanctuary, and the project included the rebuilding of 15 chapels of the Mysteries of the Rosary as well as two difficult street overpasses.
Starting out at the Saragozza City Gate, there is an elaborate introductory arch, carried out by Monti in 1675, and the church of S. Giuseppe dei Cappuccini is located on the left, built on a ancient Roman Gothic structure. Following along the stretch on flat land, the portico supports two-four floor living accommodations and serves as an entrance-way to side streets, commercial activities and private residence courtyards.
A memorial plaque is located between archways 132 and 133, in correspondence with via Turati, in honor of the first stone laid on June 28th, 1674, work of master mason Giulano Cassani.
A Madonna with Child by Andrea Ferreri is located at archway 170. The image is nicknamed "Madonna Grassa" or "Fat Madonna" due to her particularly full and shapely proportions. Continuing on, at via Casaglia 1, we can see villa Spada which hosts the Museo Storico Didattico della Tappezzeria (The Historical and Educational Museum of Tapestry).
Before the portico begins its ascent up the hill, we come across two archways a short distance from one another. The first is a large archway which opens up onto via Bandiera. Built in 1831 by Ercole Gasperini and carved by Putti and Gibelli, it is in Napoleonic style.

 
Portico della Certosa


The second archway, at number 304, is the point of insertion for another important portico, called the Certosa portico, which is composed of 130 round archways with cap vaults.

 
Carlo F. Dotti, Arco del Meloncello (sec XVIII)


Finally we come to the Meloncello archway, designed by Carlo Francesco Dotti, based on an idea by F. Galli Bibiena. This monumental overpass was meant to function as the link between the stretch of the portico located on flat ground and that which ascends up the hillside, allowing both for regular flow of traffic and for the passing of processions of religious pilgrims.

 
Carlo F. Dotti, Arco del Meloncello (sec XVIII)


Built between 1721 and 1732, the majestic archway held up by 19 columns was also used as a platform for benedictions and as a temple for celebration of the work's promoters and financiers.

 
Portico di San Luca, vista


Meloncello is the prelude to the ascent towards the sanctuary which offers a magnificent view of the city. The walk is interspersed by 15 chapels, each of which is dedicated to a mystery of the Rosary and adorned by many frescos that are currently in a state of deterioration.