Portici of Bologna – World Heritage Site
Anyone who has yet to raise their head or paused just a moment to admire the beauty and charm of Bologna’s porticos should start making up for lost time!
If the bolognesi thought themselves the only people who truly enjoy such beauty, they got it wrong, because the City of Bologna sent their application for the porticos of Bologna to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in Paris, and to the Ministry of Heritage and Culture and the UNESCO World Heritage Center in Rome.
Let’s discover something more about this architectural asset.
Bologna’s porticos find their origins in the Middle Ages. At that time, they were considered places of sociality and commerce, characterized by the “little moving shops” that offered their products to the wayfarers and citizens of the epoch.
They cover a large part of the urban zone, with a higher concentration in the historic city center. The widest portico is found in strada Maggiore (Main Street). Called the quadriportico in Italian, it is part of the basilica di Santa Maria (St. Mary’s Church), and was constructed in the 14th Century. The narrowest portico is in via Senzanome (No-Name Road) and is a rather small 95 centimeters wide; in comparison the tallest portico is almost ten meters tall, built in the second century as part of the Palazzo Arcivescovile (Archbishop’s Palace). The last, but certainly not least important, record-breaking portico is the longest one in Bologna and the world, stretching almost four kilometers along via Saragozza to the Santuario della Madonna di San Luca (Sanctuary of the Madonna).
It’s important to shine a light on an architectural work that contributes to the betterment of an entire urban zone, offering not only beauty but practical use, building on already existing constructions.
All we can do is hope for a positive response to the application, but without forgetting that with great power comes great responsibility, and as such, a management plan focused on the restoration and conservation of the porticos will be put in place, to fulfill our duty of protecting and appreciating our heritage.