The journey uphill begins at the Arco del Meloncello. Designed by the architect Carlo Francesco Dotti in 1714, the arch was built so that pilgrims could safely make their way up to the sanctuary, without having to worry about crossing the street, at a point where two busy roads come together.
A plaque in the arch commemorates Bernardo Pino, who willed part of his fortune to the maintenance of the portico, at his death. He left just enough money to cover eighty-nine years of upkeep, eighty-nine being the age at which he died.
From here, the long walk up to the sanctuary begins. My only advice to you is that, if you decide to experience this walk for yourself, you should to take your time. Do not begin the walk hurrying up the ramps and stairs, as this will soon prove too tiring. Relax! Enjoy being out in the fresh air, making your way up the side of a hill, outside the city! In life, timing is everything, and for this, your timing should be slow.
With each bend in the portico, you think that you are near the end, or that you will be able to spot the sanctuary, only to find that you are faced with yet another long stretch of stairs and ramps, and are nowhere near your final destination.
By now, it had begun to rain, but that did not matter, since we were under the portico!
Next up: We visit the Santuario della Beata Vergine di San Luca!
Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations that may appear. If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for more posts from Bologna, as well as other Italian destinations. Grazie!