A few posts earlier I mentioned about my plan of having my birthday “celebration” in Verona, at Giuletta’s house to be precise. Why? Because my name is Yulia, which is derived from Juliet, a.k.a Giuletta. Haha, nice try! However, Verona is quite far from Bologna, our main post for the week in Italy and after having two hectic days with the little one, it was wiser to stay in the city and explore it instead.
When in Bologna you must go to Basilica San Luca. Yes, this time I talk about a church instead of food. But, seriously, San Luca is a must see! You have two options. One – hike all the way up to the church (after a while you will probably feel you are walking the pilgrim route Santiago de compostela :)). Two – San Luca Express. I have read several blogs in Dutch and English about this, for example blog Ciao Tutti and I decided that the best way to go to San Luca with a child is with the San Luca Express. If you are alone or only with grown up travel partners why not try the hiking trail? It is quite far and very steep but the breath taking view and the peaceful atmosphere there will worth the climb.
San Luca Express
The San Luca Express has its own time table. During lunch break they stop driving for an hour. Be sure to plan it first otherwise you will have to wait for an hour in San Luca during lunch time and when you go with a child that is not pretty practical since San Luca lies really outside the city. Check here for the time table. The small bus departs from Piazza Maggiore, on the left side of the Piazza when you are walking from Via Ugo Bassi. The ticket is €10 per person and €3 for a child.
The ride to San Luca goes through the old town of Bologna and also the outskirts of town. The real walking route to San Luca begins actually right after Porta Saragozza. You will see the 3,5 km long arcades with (they said) 666 porticos which will take your breath away, literally and figuratively. When you walk your way up the hills towards the church, you will realise that the path gets steeper, well in a very light way then. However, you can stop a little while and enjoy the spectacular view of Bologna from above. When you go with San Luca Express, you will miss this, as the bus just ride through it. You do enjoy the breeze and the view once in a while, but it is not as peaceful as when you walk.
Once we arrived, we were asked by the guide how long we would stay there. Due to the lunch break you have to book the seats. We said that we will be there for just one hour and it was actually enough when you go with a child. My little red pepper did enjoy the view and was amazed by the colour of the building. She even wanted to go downhill walking because she wanted to see all the porticos.
The highlights of San Luca are really the walking journey to it and the view once you are there. The basilica itself is a sanctuary. You can still go in if you want and need to. You can also have your picnic lunch outside the church as we did, well it was not a proper lunch, just some snacking. The word sanctuary is indeed suited for San Luca, because it was so quiet there. I love it! I took my time alone there (like a couple of minutes or something like that, before the little red pepper called me …”mommy…”) to think about the year that has gone by and the year to come. As I become older I realise that dreams can come true but you do have work hard for it and when it does not work, it does not mean that you have to stop dreaming. Dreams make you alive and make you human. I think I have stopped dreaming for a while, because… well because life happens! But this year I want to dream again, dream big.
So I spent my birthday mesmerizing my life for a minute or two at San Luca with a breath taking view of the mountains and the city of Bologna. I suppose it was not a bad way to spend a birthday, right?