The Roman city, the Medieval city, the Renaissance city, the nineteenth century city: traces of all of these may still be found in the urban fabric. A walk through the centre of Lucca becomes an exciting voyage through the centuries, through history.
Apart from the significant monuments, such as the sixteenth-seventeenth century Walls, Lucca stands out in its integrity and its atmosphere as a lively and vital centre. Suffice to look down from on high, from one of its towers, or to wander through the narrow, tortuous Medieval streets: the white marble of superb Romanesque churces, the orange-red or the thirteenth-fourteenth century buildings, the grey of the paving stones, the green of the vegetation peeping out all over that heightens the powerful mass of the ramparts and the surfaces of the Walls that rise, almost unreal, out of the lawns of glacis.
Lucca is the city that inevitably seduces. Its appeal is probably the result of the city’s history. Over the centuries, the city has cultivated its particular proud diversity mixed with contraddictions. Ever jealous of its autonomy, Lucca was an independent city-state through 1847, on the threshold of unification of Italy.
The city was traditionally close to the papacy, but in the mid-1500s it became one of the capitals of Reformation (between 1542 and 1545, the city was home to Piero Martire Vermigli and Bernardo Ochino). It was proudly enclosed within its Walls (tha luccans purchased back from the State9 but, with its merchants and its silk, it remained active for centuries on the principales European markets.
Lucca has many beautiful attractinos. The many romanesque churches, San Michele, the Duomo of San Martino and the Basilica of San Frediano should not be missed.
Inside the Duomo, the visitor is stunned by the elegance and loveliness of the fifteenth centur monument to Ilaria del Carretto sculpted by Jacopo della Quercia and the austere solemnity of Girlandaio’s Sacra Conversazione. In San Frediano, which recalls the First roman Early Christian churches, the mosaic on the façade is splendid, as is the fresco cycle by Bolognese Amico Aspertini within.
A walk along but a section of the Walls is not to be missed. The ramparts, thirty meters wide at the base and still in their original state, cover over four kilometers. With their vegetation, they make for a highly original public park from which it is possible to enjoy views of the city and the sorrounding hills.
A trip to the Torre Guinigi is highly recommended. It offers fabulous view; but it is also one of the city’s symbols, it for no other reason then the odd tree planted at the top.
Along the same route , a visit should be made to the ninenteenth century Piazza Anfiteatro, built on the remains of the ancient Roman Amphitheatre. Then, proceed to the house of Giacomo Puccini (now museum), and further on to Via del Battistero. This street is the world renowned for its antique dealers. The antiques market on the third Sunday of every month is also famous. For thirty years, it as drawn innumerable antique lovers to the city’s plazas and streets