Big urban festival celebrating Bologna's World Heritage-listed arcades returns

From June 4 to 9, 2024, Bologna Portici Festival, the great urban festival celebrating Bologna's World Heritage-listed porticos and the link between historical heritage, creativity and art, returns for its second edition.

Bologna Portici Festival is back, the great urban festival in its second edition wanted by the city to celebrate its porticos, a World Heritage Site, and the link between historical heritage, creativity and art, and the inspiring role that the city landscape has on the artistic and cultural dimension. 6 days, 60 events, 4 cultural districts for a great tribute to Bologna and its uniqueness. Until Sunday, June 9, there will be many artists paying homage to Bologna, with original productions designed and created especially for this occasion. Among them will be Cesare Cremonini, who in recent days received the “Turrita d’argento,” the honorary award given for cultural and artistic merits to the citizens of Bologna: from tomorrow Cremonini will light up the Portici leading to the hill where the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca stands, one of the symbols of the city, with Luci a San Luca, an imposing artistic project that will illuminate the more than 300 arches, stretching for almost 2 kilometers, from dusk to dawn until Sunday, accompanied by unreleased music that Cesare Cremonini has written for the occasion together with producer and musician Alessandro Magnanini.

Also scheduled are talks on Via Zamboni, the heart of the university citadel. Edoardo d’Elia and Giacomo Venezia, authors of the podcast “La Merenda,” will host on the renovated lawn of Piazza Rossini the protagonists of the world of journalism, theater, literature, and poetry, inviting them to tell their stories in the talk La Merenda sul prato, from Wednesday, June 5 to Sunday, June 9. It will be Beatrice Zerbini, Marinella Manicardi, Gabriele Romagnoli, Stefano Bartezzaghi and Nicola Borghesi who will offer, appointment after appointment, their personal glimpse of Bologna as well as some unpublished texts written over the years or written just for the occasion. The talks will be preceded, at 6 p.m., by the intervention of one or more “Surprise Guests,” protagonists of the Bologna Portici Festival program.

First appointment on Wednesday, June 5, at 7 p.m. with Beatrice Zerbini, a poet from Bologna who has become a literary “case” starting with her first collection, “In comode rate.” From the Zecchino d’oro stage to her collaboration with the Fondazione Una Nessuna Centomila chaired by Fiorella Mannoia against violence against women, her verses have also become music, thanks to Riccardo Sinigaglia and Caterina Caselli. In Portico ti amo. Ballad for a Flood Zerbini tells her story at La Merenda su prato with her voice and verses.

At 6 p.m. La Merenda meets the history of Filuzzi, the traditional Bolognese-style ballroom dancing that will enliven the evenings in Piazza della Pace on June 6, 8 and 9 with lessons and dance evenings: in fact, talking with Edoardo D’Elia will be Paolo Marcheselli, great-grandson of Leonildo Marcheselli, considered the father of Filuzzi. Along with them will be Carlo Pelagalli, historian and dance connoisseur, and Nicolò Quercia, musician of the La Filuzzeria Orchestra.

A very special Cicerone, Albi Cazzola of Lo Stato Sociale with Delle tonde in via Zamboni, semi-serious walks from Porta San Donato to Garisenda, an endless kilometer over which centuries of history and personal and collective stories have passed: first appointment on June 5 at 5 p.m. from Porta San Donato to the Garisenda, to retrace, in one kilometer of street, centuries of history and stories with personal and collective anecdotes of life and entertainment (reservation required at https://bit. ly/3Vj6oVP, meeting at Porta San Donato at 4:50 pm).

At 6:30 p.m., meet in the Respighi Foyer of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna for Pages from the Great Opera Repertoire performed by the students of the Teatro’s Opera School.

Special evening opening at the Certosa Monumental Cemetery starting at 8 p.m. for Memoriae Pictae - Art is made beautiful at the cemetery, a walk through the Third Cloister, where a unique heritage is preserved, the painted tombs from the Neoclassical period, whose history will be revealed to participants through videos and texts accessible through QR Codes (Monumental entrance via Certosa, 16, last entrance 10 p.m.).

From the Certosa to the Arco del Meloncello for the opening, at dusk, of Luci a San Luca, the artistic project commissioned by Cesare Cremonini, with the participation of German artist Philipp Frank, which will light up the Portici di San Luca and the night of Bologna until June 9, from dusk to dawn. More than 300 arches for nearly two kilometers, all the way to the Basilica, will be illuminated, along with unreleased music that Cesare Cremonini has written for the occasion together with producer and musician Alessandro Magnanini.

Guided tours continue: at 3:30 p.m. The Secrets of the Porticoes, a journey through the centuries to discover the evolution of Bologna’s urban planning element par excellence, from the first “sporti” to wooden porticoes, from Gothic to 19th-century ones (meeting point Palazzo D’Accursio, main door of Piazza Maggiore, reservation required: From Palazzo d’Accursio we leave at 5:30 p.m. for the “Discovering the Towers” itinerary, among Torresotti, Tower-Houses and noble Towers (reservation required:

Salaborsa’s Covered Square hosts (until June 25) The Light of Bologna, curated by I-DEA, a photographic exhibition celebrating the new urban and monumental lighting of the heart of Bologna to document the “before and after” of the city’s porticoes, gates and main monumental sites. Also dedicated to the Lights of Bologna is an evening walk through the streets of the historic center scheduled at 9:30 p.m., to admire live the new lighting dedicated to the Porticoes, Piazza Santo Stefano, Piazza San Domenico and the city’s most representative sites (meet in front of the entrance to Salaborsa, reservation required

For Tutto Esaurito at theArena del Sole, Italy’s first therapeutic stress review, Alessandro Bergonzoni will talk about the stress of being an artist in conversation with journalist Emilio Marrese and psychoanalyst Mario Vittorangeli, introduced by Giorgio Comaschi (free admission subject to availability. Info and reservations at

This year’s Festival aims to be a tribute to recognizing oneself as part of a special city that knows how to hold tradition and innovation together, that knows how to open up to the world without distorting itself, that knows how to recognize its beauty and take care of it.

The Bologna Portici Festival is an event promoted by the Municipality of Bologna, with the support of the Ministry of Tourism and the Emilia-Romagna Region. We would like to thank the many entities involved for their collaboration: the Alma Mater Studiorum and in particular the Department of Legal Sciences and the University Museum System, the Metropolitan City of Bologna, the G. B. Martini Conservatory, the Municipal Theater, the Academy of Fine Arts, the National Picture Gallery of Bologna, Bologna Cemetery Services, the BFC, the Archdiocese of Bologna, Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna, Unicredit, and Fondazione Bologna Welcome.

Special thanks go to the company Dulcop, Bologna’s world-leading excellence in the production of soap bubbles, which makes possible the performance Sinfonia Sospesa for piano and bubbles on June 4, and which gives the festival audience a gadget to become children again: soap bubbles from the Bologna Portici Festival.

All events are free, with free access or by reservation.

The different ways to access the tours are indicated on the website, which will also report any changes to the program and event locations in case of bad weather:

Big urban festival celebrating Bologna's World Heritage-listed arcades returns
Big urban festival celebrating Bologna's World Heritage-listed arcades returns

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