Rete civica Iperbole


The porticoes of Bologna represent the social dimension of the city where commercial activities coexist with cultural and religious paths, touristic itineraries, festival, fairs and solidarity actions. For this reason, they are perceived as common goods, as 'Commons' of the city.Considered as the public space 'par excellence', this contemporary vision of the portico takes its origins from the late 1288, when the Charters of Bologna first stated the legal status of porticoes as 'private property of public use'. The Charters also clarified the citizens requirement to build and manage porticoes. Thus for Bologna citizens, the obligation of taking care of their own porticoes is not a recent news, but rather a responsibility assigned to every single property owner, under the guidance of the local administration coordination.

The nomination of Bologna Porticoes as UNESCO World Heritage places the city in front of the need to systematically organise their managing and maintenance initiatives, with the provision of a Management Plan, drafted as a result of the participatory actions engaging all local stakeholders. The plan has to prove the commitment of the stakeholders in preserving the outstanding universal value carried by porticoes,outlining the current legal framework  operating within the city and through the design of a Management System. This system will gather, in a concrete way, all the managing initiatives and the monitoring actions already in place and those of future implementation.


Porticoes. Instructions for Management and Care

In order to take care of city porticoes and to efficiently manage them, the Municipality of Bologna released the guidelines Portici. Istruzioni per la cura e l'uso with the contribution of Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna. This document provides a series of instructions for the management and care of porticoes and it has been drafted  starting from the experience of a wide set of initiatives previously carried out to facilitate the involvement of private citizens.

The guidelines for the management and care of porticoes are divided into 9 thematic sections, which illustrate how porticoes are used according to the needs of commercial activities, retail and catering businesses, temporary setups in occasion of relevant and seasonal events, laying of additional installations for private or home energy use; and also in relation to the needs of several typologies of mobility, for the setups of construction sites and scaffoldings and for cleaning and hygiene operations.

A relevant part of this document is represented by the Glossary, which helps recognizing and naming the several parts forming the structure of porticoes, employing a language that it is not only used by technicians but also by citizens, in the perspective of protecting some traditional terminology elements that could be considered by all means a part of  Bologna Heritage.

These guidelines are also connected to the Collaboration Agreements already active in Bologna, in compliance with the 'Regulation on collaboration between citizens and the city for the care and regeneration of urban commons', which states a specific provision (art.14) about management.

Download the complete document Portici. Istruzioni per la Cura e l'Uso (available in Italian only). 



Under porticoes are located several shops, cafes, restaurants and other businesses. Their  presence has an essential role for the life, the management and the care of porticoes. These guidelines focus on some specific issues involving porticoes areas, with particular attention to the furniture and the objects employed by commercial activities for catering and trade.


In occasion of events and exhibitions, temporary structures and elements can be placed under porticoes areas, such as: stands, infoterminals and decorations. These guidelines provide detailed descriptions and instructions about how to place objects for temporary setups under or in proximity of porticoes.

Plant components can determine an high degree of visual pollution. These guidelines contain instructions about the methodologies to follow in case of general maintenance operations, such as  restorations of buildings,  replacements of facades or partial modifications.

The needs of different form of mobility may involve actions such as: laying particular objects or perform specific operations on porticoes paving. These guidelines provide instructions about the modifications necessary for the placement of driveway signs, bollards and bicycle racks, or for the positioning of ramps for the elimination of architectural barriers.

Setting up a construction site may require the presence of intrusive or impactful elements. These guidelines provide instructions on how to properly place the objects defining the work areas under porticoes or in their proximity.

Proper and regular cleaning operations  are the best way to take care of porticoes and to postpone more invasive maintenance. These guidelines provide instructions on how to perform cleaning works and how to keep away unwanted animals.

Maintaining in a good state porticoes paving and safeguarding their historical parts is an essential contribution to the overall quality of the city. These guidelines contain a description of the correct methodologies to employ in case of replacements or substitutions of  existing  paving, and in case of partial modifications, such as the opening and closing of surface breaches. 

These guidelines provide instructions on how to simplify and to make more uniform lighting along porticoes path, as much as possible, safeguarding the historical lighting units, reducing the presence of unused objects and ensuring pedestrian safety.

This glossary is designed to aid in recognizing and naming the several elements forming porticoes, recovering a terminology that is both technical and traditional, part of a language use that is considered a form of heritage to protect.