In the last years the image-based pipeline for 3D reconstruction purposes has received large interest leading to fully automated methodologies able to process large image datasets and deliver 3D products with a level of detail and precision variable according to the applications. Different open issues still exist, in particular when dealing with the 3D surveying and modeling of large and complex scenarios, like historical porticoes. The paper presents an evaluation of various surveying methods for the geometric documentation of ca 40km of historical porticoes in Bologna (Italy). Finally, terrestrial photogrammetry was chosen as the most flexible and productive technique in order to deliver 3D results in form of colored point clouds or textured 3D meshes accessible on the web. The presented digital products are a complementary material for the final candidature of the porticoes as UNESCO WHS.