If there was a vote as to the best city for a tourist in any type of weather, mine would go to Bologna. Even in a pouring, drenching rain or the sultry heat of summer, one can remain nice and comfy because of more than 23 miles of porticos throughout the city of Bologna.
Porticos were first built in Bologna around the 11th century, and today one can walk for miles surrounded by magnificent terrazzo floors, marble columns and painted mural ceilings.
As a tourist, porticos can change your entire day- instead of hunched over clutching your umbrella in a rainstorm, there’s no need for the umbrella. Getting a little warm from the sun? Duck under the nice cool portico (and stop in a bar for a glass of prosecco).
The ultimate of porticos in Bologna are on the way to the Sanctuary di Madonna di San Luca which consists of 666 arches covering 2.1 miles going up to 990 feet above sea level. (fyi-The Broker by John Grisham is set in Bologna and San Luca is the backdrop several chapters.) Once at the top, the views of Bologna and the countryside are spectacular. Okay…I confess we didn’t walk all the way up the hill to the church – we took a taxi to the top so we were well rested to happily stroll down the extensive walkway through all 666 arches…and no I didn’t count them.