All SEE in Lucca

Lucca is known for its medieval walls (Mura di Lucca), started in 1545 and completed around 1650, for the superb oval square Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, built on the remains of an ancient Roman amphitheater, for the Cathedral of San Martino, the Church of Sant Michele in Foro, the Basilica of San Frediano, and for the two towers – Torre Guinigi, with holm oaks on top, and Torre delle Ore, the tallest tower in the city.

  •   Favorite

    Piazza dell’Anfiteatro

    Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is a wonderful square in Lucca, built on the remains of an ancient Roman amphitheater, which determined its closed elliptical shape.   SHORT HISTORY A large amphitheater was built here in the 1st or the 2nd century BC, started under Emperor Claudius, and completed in the Flavian period. The structure, with fifty-four arches and 18 rows of seats, could accommodate around 10,000 spectators. In the 6th century, during the Gothic Wars, under siege by the Byzantine general Narses, the amphitheatre was fortified by the closure of the outside arches. Following the shape of the ancient amphitheater, the square was born in the Middle Ages. During this era, the square was called parlascio, a word derived from the Latin paralisium, meaning amphitheater. Progressively, the square was filled with buildings, used as warehouses, shops or prison. In the 19th century, thanks to the architect Lorenzo Nottolini, was decided an urban renewal of the structure. The space of the arena was freed from the small buildings that crowded it, and Via dell’ Anfiteatro was built around it. The new space was used for the city market, until – in the first half of the 20th century – the market was moved Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Church of San Michele in Foro

    The Church of San Michele in Foro is a church in Romanesque style, located in the homonymous square, Piazza San Michele, in Lucca.   SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, in the middle 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, but the structure was completed only in the 14th century. At the beginning of the 13th century, the works were carried out by the architect Guidetto. The new church had three naves, delimited by columns with Corinthian capitals, and an apse. The bell-tower was built around the same time, but was later shortened by Giovanni dell’Agnello, Doge of Pisa between 1364 and 1368, because the sound of its bells could be heard from Pisa. During the Middle Ages, the access to the church was made by crossing a wooden bridge, called Ponte al Foro, which passed over a small canal known as Fossa Natali.   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 Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Cathedral of San Martino

    The Cathedral of San Martino is the Cathedral of Lucca, located in the homonymous square, in the historical center of the city. According to tradition, the Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, was founded by San Frediano in the 6th century, then rebuilt by Anselmo da Baggio, Bishop of the city, in 1060, and finally remodeled in its current form in the 12th and 13th centuries.   SHORT HISTORY In the 8th century, the Church of San Martino received the title of Cathedral from the Church of San Giovanni and Santa Reparata, located nearby. The Cathedral was completely rebuilt starting with 1060, and solemnly consecrated in 1070 by Anselmo da Baggio, who, at the time of the consecration, was Pope Alexander II, but also kept the title of Bishop of Lucca. In 1204, Guido Bigarelli of Como began the work on the facade. In 1372, two years after the liberation from the Pisan domination, the apse of the church and the wall of the transept were completed in Gothic style. The works were finished around 1390.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The main facade of the church was begun in 1204 by Guido Bigarelli of Como. The facade consists of Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Basilica of San Frediano

    The Basilica of San Frediano is a Romanesque church in Lucca, located in the homonymous square, Piazza San Frediano. Every year, on the evening of September 13, the candlelit procession of Luminara di Santa Croce, part of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, starts here.   SHORT HISTORY An ancient church was built on this site in the 6th century, and was dedicated to the three holy Levites – Vincenzo, Stefano and Lorenzo. The construction of the church is owed to San Frediano, an Irish pilgrim who was bishop of Lucca between 560 and 588. During the Longobard domination, the church was enlarged. At the end of the 8th century, a crypt was built for the body of San Frediano. In 1112, the rebuilding of the church began, and the structure was completed and consecrated in 1147 by Pope Eugene III. The project included a church with three naves and an apse, with the facade facing east, unlike the Augustinian rule that oriented it to the west. In the 12th century, the church was lower than we see today. The raising of the central nave and the construction of the wooden ceiling dates back to the 13th Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Church of San Giovanni and Santa Reparata

    The Church of San Giovanni and Santa Reparata is a church located in Piazza San Giovanni, in Lucca, about 100 meters away from the Cathedral of San Martino, and about the same distance from Piazza Napoleone and the Ducal Palace.   SHORT HISTORY The church was built in the 5th century on the site of a Roman settlement, and was the Cathedral of Lucca until the 8th century, when the role passed to the nearby Church of San Martino. However, after the change, the baptismal font was kept in the Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata, and the two holy places remained inseparably linked. In the 12th century, a new edifice replaced the old church. The new church, with three naves supported by columns with composite capitals, with apse and transept, wasn’t so different from the early Christian structure. The baptistery was also rebuilt in the 12th century, but the most important renovation works were made in 1393, when it was covered with an ogival dome. Starting with the end of the 16th century and throughout the first two decades of the following century, a new renovation was carried out. During this time, the new facade was built, reusing for Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Piazza San Michele

    Piazza San Michele is a beautiful square in Lucca, which gets its name from the imposing Church of San Michele in Foro. The square is also known as Piazza delle Catene, due to the numerous marble columns connected by metal chains which surround it.   SHORT HISTORY The square corresponds to the ancient forum of the Roman city, and is tangent to the ancient roads of decumanus (east-west street) and cardo (north-south street). In the square, next to the Church of San Michele in Foro, once stood Palatium Civitatis (Public Palace), a building now gone. Later, the municipal offices were transferred to the Augusta Fortress, in Piazza Napoleone, which was also demolished in 1370. During the medieval period, a canal known as Fossa Natali surrounded the square. To get inside the Church of San Michele in Foro, you had to cross a wooden bridge known as Ponte al Foro. Piazza San Michele was paved for the first time in the 15th century, with bricks in herringbone pattern. In the 18th century, the square was paved with large gray stone bricks and bordered by numerous columns with chains.   ARCHITECTURE The square is enclosed by medieval buildings with round and pointed Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Church of San Giuseppe

    The Church of San Giuseppe is a Catholic church in Lucca, located in Piazza Antelminelli, not far from the Cathedral of San Martino.   SHORT HISTORY The Church of San Giuseppe is, actually, the small oratory of the convent of the Jesuit nuns founded in 1518 in Lucca, and the only part of this ancient structure still standing.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church has the typical oratory structure, with two grilled windows on either side of the central portal. The lunette of the portal is decorated with glazed terracotta from the second half of the 16th century, depicting the Madonna between Saints Joseph and Jerome. The interior of the church, with a single nave and a cross vault, underwent a renovation in the mid-17th century, and on this occasion was enriched with carved and gilded wood: a choir leaning against the counter-facade, two side altars, and the high altar, which has in the center the late 16th-century painting with Saints Paul, Joseph and Girolamo, work of Lorenzo Zacchia.   HOW TO GET THERE The Church of San Giuseppe is located about 700 meters away from the Lucca railway station. The closest bus stop is Della Rossa, located about 220 Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Piazza San Salvatore

    Piazza San Salvatore, also known as Piazza della Pupporona or Piazza della Misericordia, is a square in Lucca, located about 60 meters away from Piazza San Michele and the Church of San Michele in Foro.   SHORT HISTORY The name of Piazza San Salvatore derives from the presence of the homonymous church, built in the 12th century. At least one work in the church – the architrave of the side door, was attributed to Biduino, a sculptor and architect from the Romanesque period. The name of Piazza della Misericordia comes from Arciconfraternita della Misericordia (Archconfraternity of Mercy), which takes care of the Church of San Salvatore since 1818. The square is also called Piazza della Pupporona in homage to the Neoclassical fountain designed by Lorenzo Nottolini and built by Luigi Camolli between 1838 and 1840. The people of Lucca call pupporona to the statue of Naiade, which dominates the fountain, for its exposed breast.   ARCHITECTURE The Church of San Salvatore, located on the eastern side of the square, was built before the year 1000, and rebuilt in the 12th century. The church was renovated in the 19th century, during the Bourbon rule of the city. On the southern side Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Piazza Cittadella

    Piazza Cittadella is a small square in Lucca, located between Via di Poggio and Via San Paolino, about 50 meters away from Piazza San Michele and the Church of San Michele in Foro.   SHORT HISTORY Piazza Cittadella was initially called Piazza Di Poggio, due to the residence of the Di Poggio family, located in the square, one of the most powerful families of Lucca during the Middle Ages. In 1522, took place the Conspiracy of the Poggi, when the Di Poggio family challenged other patrician families of Lucca for power. The Di Poggio family was defeated, its members were exiled, and the name of the square was changed to Piazza del Grano. Subsequently, the square was named Piazza Cittadella, in honor of another powerful family of Lucca, the Cittadella family. Their residence, Palazzo Cittadella, located in the square, was known at the beginning of the 17th century for its large terrace with a hanging garden.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE Piazza Cittadella is famous above all for the presence of the house, now a museum, in which the great composer Giacomo Puccini was born, located in the northeastern corner of the square. In the center of the square, there is Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Villa Bottini

    Villa Bottini, also known as Villa Buonvisi, is a beautiful villa in Lucca, located in Via Elisa, near the medieval Porta San Gervasio.   SHORT HISTORY The villa was built by Bernardino Buonvisi in the second half of the 16th century. In the following centuries, the building undergone various vicissitudes, remaining closed and abandoned for a long time. At the beginning of the 19th century, it was purchased by Elisa Bonaparte, sister of Napoleon. In the early 20th century, it became the property of the Marquises Bottini of Lucca. Subsequently, it passed to the Motroni-Andreozzi family, and then to the Marcheschi family. Finally, it was bought by the region of Tuscany which, after the restoration, ceded it to the Municipality of Lucca. Now it is open to the public, and is used as a representative area of the Municipality and seat of the Culture Office.   ARCHITECTURE The building has a large garden, and is enclosed by a wall with kneeling windows and three portals built in Renaissance style. The main portal is located on Via Elisa, while the other two are located on the sides of the garden. Villa Bottini has a rectangular shape, surmonted by a belvedere loggia. Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Piazza Antelminelli

    Piazza Antelminelli, also known as Piazza dei Ferri, is a square in Lucca, located near Piazza San Martino and the Cathedral of San Martino.   SHORT HISTORY The name of the square derives from the Antelminelli family, who owned some buildings in the area during the 13th century. The buildings were demolished in 1301, to make way for the square. Piazza Antelminelli, which was previously used as a parking lot for residents, became a pedestrian area in 2012, after the restoration of the pavement.   ARCHITECTURE In the middle of the square, there is a circular fountain built in marble by Lorenzo Nottolini in 1832. The fountain is surrounded by marble columns joined by chains, from which the name of Piazza dei Ferri derives (ferri means irons in Italian). In the eastern side of the square, there is the small Church of San Giuseppe, the only remnant of the convent of the Jesuit nuns founded in 1518. To the west of the square lies Palazzo Micheletti, a palace built in the mid-16th century by Bartolomeo Ammannati, and to the south is the beautiful Cathedral of San Martino, built between 1060 and 1390.   HOW TO GET THERE Piazza Antelminelli is Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Teatro del Giglio

    Teatro del Giglio is one of the oldest public theaters in Italy, located in Piazza del Giglio, in Lucca. The theater was called Teatro Pubblico and Teatro Nazionale until 1819, and after it was rebuilt took the name of del Giglio in honor of the Bourbon dynasty, whose coat of arms bears three golden lilies (gigli).   SHORT HISTORY In 1672, the expansion of the art of theater led the Council of the Republic of Lucca to promote the project of a new theater. The theater was built on the site of the ancient convent of the Jesuits, located near the Church of San Girolamo. Two and a half years later, on January 14, 1675, the new Teatro Pubblico (Public Theater) was inaugurated. Organized on three tiers of boxes and with two entrances, the building was designed by Francesco Buonamici and built by the architect Maria Giovanni Padreddio. On February 16, 1688, the theater burned to the ground. The structure was rebuilt in 1692 after the original project, with the addition of the ceiling frescoes by Angelo Livoratti and a new stage designed by Silvano Barbati. Between 1754 and 1799, the year of the fall of the Republic of Lucca, Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Palazzo Ducale

    Palazzo Ducale (Ducal Palace), known once as Palazzo degli Illustrissimi Signori (Palace of the Illustrious Lords) and today as Palazzo della Provincia (Palace of the Province), is an imposing palace located in Piazza Napoleone, in Lucca.   SHORT HISTORY Until the rise of Castruccio Castracani, Duke of Lucca, in the first years of the 14th century, the seat of the government of the Republic was located in Piazza San Michele. Castracani built the vast Augusta Fortress, in which he transfered the entire administrative power of the city. The huge complex of Augusta Fortress, which covered about a fifth of the city, was destroyed by population in 1370, after the Emperor Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, gave the Republic its freedom. With the new lordship of Paolo Guinigi, a new fortress called Cittadella di Lucca was built on the ruins of the former Fortezza Augusta. In 1430, after the fall of Paolo Guinigi, the Citadel was destroyed as well, but the restored republican government preserved the palace for its headquarters. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Palazzo Pubblico grew without a precise design, with the progressive addition of new buildings. The structure housed the parliament and the Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Piazza Napoleone

    Piazza Napoleone, commonly known as Piazza Grande, is the main square of Lucca, the place where every year in July is held one of the most important music festivals in Italy, the Lucca Summer Festival.   SHORT HISTORY The large Augusta Fortress (Fortezza Augusta) was built on this site during the 14th century, as the residence of Castruccio Castracani, Duke of Lucca. The huge complex, which covered about a fifth of the city, was destroyed by the population in 1370. Subsequently, the ruins of the Fortezza Augusta were restored by Paolo Guinigi, Lord of Lucca, at the beginning of the 15th century, to create a new defensive structure. The new architectural complex was called Cittadella di Lucca, but it was partially destroyed as well after the fall of Paolo Guinigi, in 1429. Finally, on the remains of the Citadel, Palazzo Ducale was built. The square was built in 1806, during the Napoleonic domination, by Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, and dedicated to the French emperor. Under the direction of the architect Giovanni Lazzarini and of the French Pierre-Theodore Bienimé, the square began to develop in the 19th century. The idea was to give greater importance to the Palazzo Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Church of San Francesco

    The Church of San Francesco is a Catholic church in Lucca, located in the homonymous square. Today, the church is deconsecrated and used as a venue for various events.   SHORT HISTORY The presence of the Franciscans in Lucca is attested as early as 1228. The church, built at their behest, was completed in 1430. After a period of neglect, the church became the property of the Municipality of Lucca in 1901, and was reopened for worship in 1910. The facade was completed only at the beginning of the 20th century. In 2003, the Franciscan friars left the convent and the entire complex was purchased by the Municipality of Lucca. In 2010, after some works on the adjacent buildings damaged the complex, the church was bought by Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca Foundation. The church underwent a major restoration between 2011 and 2013.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, completed in 1930, has wider bands of white limestone alternating with narrower bands of gray limestone. The lower part of the facade presents, in the center, the portal with a painted lunette and, on the sides, two blind round arches with sepulchres. In the upper part, there is Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Church of Santa Maria Forisportam

    The Church of Santa Maria Forisportam, also known as the Church of Santa Maria Bianca, is a church located in the homonymous square, in Lucca. Forisportam comes from the Latin foris portam, which means outside the gate, due to the location of a first church built on this site during the Roman times, outside the ancient walls of the city. Bianca (white) comes from the white marble facade of the church.   SHORT HISTORY In the 12th century, the church was rebuilt and incorporated within the medieval walls of Lucca. The religious building was modeled after the Cathedral of Pisa. The bell tower was built in 1619, and other restoration works were carried out during the 18th and 19th centuries. From 1512 until the Napoleonic suppression, the church was affiliated with the Canonici Regolari of San Salvatore of Bologna. In 1819, the Canonici returned, and in 1823 they fused with the Canonici Regolari Lateranensi into a single order.   ART AND ARCHITECTURE On the facade of the church, the first order is articulated by blind arcades supported by semi-columns of Pisan imitation. Also on the facade, we can find three portals with architraves decorated with classical motifs. The second order Read more [...]