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.
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.
The square is enclosed by medieval buildings with round and pointed arches, brick facades and mullioned windows. Of these, we can mention Palazzo Gigli, built in 1529, and Palazzo Pretorio, also known as Palazzo del Podestà, built in Renaissance style in 1492.
The most important structure in the square is the magnificent Church of San Michele in Foro, built between the 11th and the 14th century in Romanesque style.
The statue of Francesco Burlamacchi, an Italian politician from the 16th century, was placed in the center of the square in 1863. The statue is the work of the sculptor Ulisse Cambi.
HOW TO GET THERE
Piazza San Michele is located about 900 meters away from the Lucca railway station. The closest bus stop is San Salvatore, located about 70 meters away, on the bus Line LAM Verde.