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Sunday in Bologna

ITALY | Sunday, 24 October 2021 | Views [109]

Sanctuary of San Luca

Sanctuary of San Luca

WE JOINED THE THRONG HEADING FOR Piazza Maggiore; Sunday strollers, young lovers, families with kids, gaggles of girls, herds of guys and dog walkers including a group with about 30 greyhounds—dog racing (amateurs only, no betting) is popular in Italy. All those dogs may explain the plight of this poor kitty.


    Families, Lovers, Strollers and Dogs


                       Someone, Please Save Me!

We were headed for the Sanctuary of San Luca perched atop a hill a few miles from the center. While waiting for our turn on the touristy train-like San Luca Express, we visited the Basilica of San Petronius, patron saint of Bologna.


            Basilica of San Petronius


                       Cassini's Meridian Line


                    The "Eye" of Cassini's Solar Clock 

Pisa had Galileo—Bologna claims Gian Domenico Cassini whose “Solar Clock” is a mainstay of the Basilica. What remains today is his “meridian line” stretching 66.71 meters on the floor of the nave of the Basilica and the “eye” high on the ceiling, a peephole where a ray of sunshine falling on the meridian at noon tells the exact date. This is most surprising in a Catholic church considering he developed this in 1655, just 30 years after the same Catholic Church issued a prohibition against the Copernican theory that Earth revolves around the Sun.


                             Debil Gonna Getcha

That hardly explains the presence of armed soldiers outside the Basilica. That’s all about a fresco, painted by Giovanni da Modena in the early XVth  Century, depicting a scene from Dante’s Inferno. Near the center, just right of Satan, a  man with the inscription “Mohammad” is being devoured by demons. Over 500 years later in 2002, and again in ‘06, Italian police arrested Muslim terrorists who were planning to blow up the Basilica because they claimed that a 15th Century fresco inside was insulting to 21st Century Islam. You be the judge.


                                Down, down, down—Descent from San Luca

It was a wonderful day to visit the Sanctuary. Many, including penitents, walk the 3½ uphill miles. Others bike or even run. I wasn’t ashamed to take the easy way up, especially since we walked back down. And down. And down. All but the final few hundred meters were under Bologna’s famous porticos. As churches go the Sanctuary isn’t anything special but the views of Bologna make the trip worthwhile.


San Luca Express, the "Shame Train"


           Interior of San Luca


                                View of the Old Town

Of course we missed the train back to Borgo Panigale by two minutes but like streetcars, another will come along soon.



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