Porta Saragozza is for Bologna an architectural structure of great charm, which still today wears its ancient medieval clothes, despite the fact that it has undergone various restoration interventions over the centuries.
Curiosities and useful information about Porta Saragozza
To admire this ancient city gate, just go to the square of the same name in Bologna. It is also known by the name of “Porta Sacra” (sacred gate), so called because a portico was built in 1674, which led the faithful in veneration up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca. From there the procession dedicated to the Marian icon started and ended.
This very important place is one of our stops on the walking tour towards San Luca.
Between 1883 and 1938 the steam tramway, which followed the Bologna-Casalecchio-Vignola section, passed through that point, as did two other urban lines until 1963.
1982 marks a very important historical moment, because the premises inside the structure become the first venue to host a gay cultural club, an event that has never happened before in Italy, in fact, a public space had never been granted to an association of this type.
In 1985 it became the national headquarters of Arcigay, an important association for the protection of LGBT rights. Although the club later moved to another location, it has kept the name “Il Cassero” deriving from the place that originally housed it.
Further restoration work began in 2007 which, completed in 2009, brought the monument back to its maximum splendour. Today, inside you can find the Museum of the Blessed Virgin of San Luca, which preserves the cultural, historical and religious heritage linked to the Marian figure. Furthermore, the permanent collection of Antonio Brighetti is present there.
History and evolution from the Middle Ages to today
This gate represents one of the numerous gates in the walls that once surrounded the municipality and which had the purpose of protecting it from external attacks. This one in particular was built as an access point during the 13th century, the gate was located precisely in the last city wall of Bologna.
It was the year 1859 when the architect Giuseppe Mengoni decided to completely restore it, giving it a more modern and shiny appearance.
Through this grandiose intervention, the medieval keep has taken on another form, more suitable for today’s times, furthermore, the two side towers have been inserted.