In the 8th century, at the center of the ancient Roman forum, a church dedicated to San Michele (Archangel Michael) was built, together with a monastery and a hospital.
Around 1070, by the will of Pope Alessandro II, the reconstruction of the church began, and ended much later, in the 14th century. The new church will have three naves, Corinthian columns with capitals and an apse.
The bell-tower was built around the same period, but was later cut off by Giovanni dell’Agnello, Doge of Pisa from 1364 to 1368, because the sound of its bells could be heard from Pisa.
During the medieval period, access to the church was made by crossing a wooden bridge, called Ponte al Foro, which passed over the canal Fossa Natali.
At the beginning of the 13th century, the works were carried out by the architect Guidetto.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
San Michele in Foro is a church with a Latin cross plan, built in Romanesque style. The facade is adorned with four levels of loggias and surmounted by a large marble statue of the Archangel Michael, with metal plated wings, in the act of defeating the dragon with a lance. On the sides, there are two angels.
The exterior of the church is marked, on the lower part, by blind arches on columns with capitals. The interior has three naves, with a transept and a semicircular apse. Under the altar, the crypts can be found.
Inside, there are kept works like Madonna and Child in enamelled terracotta by Andrea della Robbia, a painting by Filippino Lippi representing the saints Girolamo, Sebastiano, Rocco and Elena, and a relief of the Virgin sculpted by Raphael da Montelupo.
HOW TO GET THERE
Basilica of San Michele in Foro is about 900 meters away from the Lucca Train Station. The closest bus station is San Salvatore, 120 meters from the church, on the route of LAM Verde.