Unesco has announced the appointment of the porticoes of Bologna as a World Heritage Site, a candidacy that the Municipality and the city have been working on for years. The title is for 62 km of arcades, 42 of which in the historic center area, which represent something unique not only from an architectural point of view, but also from a social one.

Portico di San Luca, the longest ever built in the world

The charm of Bologna’s arcades lies in being both public and private spaces: born in the Middle Ages as a way to expand homes on the upper floors, the immense private space is immediately made available to the public. Even today we walk through the arcades with friends, family or alone, enjoying the tranquility of the city. “It is the city that becomes a home and the house that becomes a city” in the words of Archbishop Matteo Zuppi at the news of the UNESCO recognition, who since his arrival in the city has always emphasized the symbolic and evocative significance of the arcades.

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Portico dei Servi and its Christmas markets

In the Unesco dossier the spearheads were, in addition to San Luca, the vast portico dei Servi – where the traditional Christmas market takes place – and the more modern arcades such as the one in the peripheral district of Barca, which in architecture try to replicate those traditional to indicate the importance that this element has for the entire city. The Bolognese arcades were fundamental in returning to life after the lockdown because of pandemic, thanks to the additional possibility of carrying out outdoor activities that are usually done indoors.

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Modern portico defined as the “train” of the Barca district

“Thanks to the commitment and work of the MiC offices, of diplomacy, of the councilor Orioli with the municipal offices, Bologna and its arcades find the place they deserve. I am doubly enthusiastic, both for the recognition obtained after the demanding work which I have been following for years, both because Bologna is my city” declared Undersecretary for Culture Lucia Borgonzoni during the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee held online from Fuzhou (China).