Visit Lucca in one day

This is an excerpt from the book “Florence and Tuscany


LUCCA. A Roman city, and then extremely important in the turbulent life of the Middle Ages, it developed an individual style of Romanesque architecture derived, with a refinement permitted to it by the abundance of marble from nearby Carrara, from that of Lombardy. The marriage of Romanesque architecture and marble produced, in fact, the richness of ornament, sculptures, loggias, galleries, and capitals which was to characterize Pisan and Lucchese architecture.

The old city is enclosed by the impressive circuit of its ancient Walls, from which one may enjoy magnificent views of the city with its belfries and towers. We come to the square where the 13th century Cathedral stands, with its three orders of treading and numerous sculptures, the most important being the group of San Martino and the Beggar on the facade. Inside, rich in works of art from all periods, are the notable Tomb of llaria del Carretto by Jacopo della Ouercia, an attar by Giambologna, and a Last Supper by Tintoretto; the sacristy contains a beautiful Altar-piece by Ghirlandaio.

View from Torre Guinigi – Photo © io2
View from Torre Guinigi – Photo © io2

Behind the Cathedral, is the Archbishop’s Palace (handsome 15th century portal), from which we reach the Oratorio di S. Maria delta Rosa, a little gem of Gothic-Romanesque art.

Coming back to Piazza S. Martino, with its fine buildings, and crossing the adjacent Piazza Antelminelli, we come to the church of S. Giovanni, with a beautiful Portal dating from 1187, and the 14th century Baptistery.

From here, we go to Piazza Napoleon.

The square is dominated by the Palazzo Provinciale (1578), which houses an excellent Gallery and National Museum Ligurian, Etruscan and Roman archaeological finds, sculpture of the Lombard, Pisan and Lucchese schools, works by Civitali, the Berlinghicris, Fra Bartolomeo, Andrea del Sarto).

Teatro del Giglio – Photo © kyllwtr
Teatro del Giglio – Photo © kyllwtr

Following Via Vittorio Veneto, we reach the magnificent Piazza San Michele cohere, surrounded by medieval houses, stands the architectural pearl of Lucca: San Michele (1143) With its elegant pointed facade enlivened by four orders of arcading. Inside we find paintings by Filippino Lippi, a bas-relief by A. Della Robbia, etc.

We then go to Via Fillungo, the most beautiful street in Lucca, which we take to the Roman Amphitheatre, round which medieval houses have sprung up, creating a very picturesque effect.

A short walk from here brings us to S. Frediano, a severe Romanesque church (1112), with mosaics decorating its otherwise austere facade, a superb Baptismal Font, and sculptures by Jacopo Della Ouercia, Civitali, etc.

From here, returning to Via dell’Anfiteatro and passing through Piazza San Pietro brings us to the church of San Francesco (13th century) with its handsome doorway flank and by medieval sarcophagi, and carry on to Villa Guinigi (1418), which has a fine loggia. Taking Via della Fratta and Via Mordmi, we come to Via de’ Guinigi, where we find the very picturesque medieval part of the city, dominated by the Guinigi Tower with its curious clump of trees growing on the top.

End of the excerpt from the book “Florence and Tuscany“. Get the entire content of the book free from advertising.

Where to stay in Lucca

There are numerous high quality hotels, villas, apartments and agriturismi (Farm stays) available in Lucca, check them out and make a reservation here.

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