Sitting on top of a hilltop southwest of the city of Bologna is the Santuario della Madonna di San Luca. The pink basicila dates back to 1732 and took 50 years to build (all good things take time). To reach the basilica you can most certainly cheat (and believe me I thought about it around 3/4th of the way up) and drive up or you can take the pilgrimage of 3.8 km (2.3 miles) up the hill from Porta Saragozza under the 666 arches of the world’s longest portico. You can also stop at a terrific pasticceria si chiama “Neri” on the way by!
The sanctuary is quite beautiful, as many are here, with a much revered Byzantine-style image of the Madonna (medieval). Every Ascension Week the image is taken down the hill to the Cathedral of San Pietro. Crowds line up to see the procession go by. Many pilgrims, worshippers and those trying to work off pasta make the trek up the hill through the portico each and every day, especially on the weekends.
We did it and it was quite the hike. It would be a good ongoing Sunday adventure for those who do not suffer sciatica. I am just at the right end of recovery from our pilgrimage. Been there–done that.