Almost 25 miles (40 kilometers) of porticoes, or shaded arcades, line the streets of the Italian city of Bologna. Simultaneously functional and architecturally beautiful, the porticoes provide outdoor promenades that are protected from sun and rain. Here’s where to find the best examples throughout the center of Bologna.
Dating back to the 13th century, this square has porticoes on three sides. Each side has its own architecture and character, reflecting the era in which they were built and the style of the designer.
Dating back to 1888, the porticoes along Via dell'Indipendenza are relatively new compared to other historic walkways in Bologna. Connecting Piazza Maggiore to the railway station, this road is lined with shops, and the wide walkway offers shelter from the weather.
Stretching almost 13,125 feet (4,000 meters), the porticoes along Via San Luca and Via Saragozza were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. This covered walkway was considered a religious route and leads to a church, the Madonna of San Luca (Santuario Madonna di San Luca).
Some of the oldest examples of this architecture style can be seen in the wooden porticoes of Via Marsala, dating back to the 13th century.
You can see porticoes from different eras in history along Via Zamboni, once the home of many noble residences now belonging to offices and universities. A range of architectural styles and intricate details are displayed here.
Piazza Santo Stefano
Two sides of this square are lined by porticoes dating back to different moments in Bologna’s history from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Craftsmanship on the columns and arches is especially noteworthy.