A Glimpse Into The Past
Lucca is a city that has withstood the test of time. It showcases remnants of its illustrious past in its well-preserved architecture and city layout. Its origins can be traced back to ancient times when it was founded by the Etruscans. Over the centuries, Lucca was inhabited and influenced by various civilizations, including the Romans and the Byzantines. Each time period leaving an indelible mark on its character.
However, it was during the Renaissance that Lucca truly flourished. The city became a hub for arts and commerce, attracting renowned artists, architects, and intellectuals. Today, the legacy of this era is palpable as visitors wander through its charming streets, adorned with stunning churches, piazzas, and palaces.
Embracing the Walled Beauty
One of Lucca’s most distinctive features is its well-preserved Renaissance walls, encircling the city like a warm embrace. These walls, built in the 16th and 17th centuries, serve as a reminder of the city’s past, providing a unique vantage point for visitors to appreciate Lucca’s beauty.
Walking or cycling along the tree-lined walls offers stunning panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. It’s a tranquil escape from the bustling city life, allowing one to reflect upon the historical significance and architectural grandeur of Lucca.
Marvels of Architecture
Lucca’s architecture is a testament to its rich history and cultural diversity. The Cathedral of St. Martin, with its intricate façade and impressive bell tower, is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.
The Cathedral of San Martin was started in 1063 by Pope Alexander II who was then Bishop Anselm. This stunning cathedral, highly reminiscent of the Duomo in Florence, was not completed until 1484. It contains the sacred Holy Face of Lucca, a wood crucifix that was allegedly carved out of cedar by Nicodemus, a contemporary of Christ. Inside, visitors can admire the infamous wooden crucifix, and marvel at the intricately designed interior.
Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is another architectural gem, showcasing the remnants of an ancient Roman amphitheater. The square, shaped in an elliptical form, is surrounded by vibrant buildings and bustling cafes. The nature of this piazza creates a lively atmosphere that attracts both locals and tourists.
Other notable architectural marvels include the magnificent Ducal Palace, the Basilica di San Frediano, the Guinigi Tower and the Church of Sant’Alessandro.
The majestic Cathedral of Saint Michele was originally built in the 8th Century and restored by Pope Alexander II. Within the construction of arches are a series of stunning arcades lined with sculptured inlays. Amongst the art treasures inside the Church are Lucca della Robbia’s Madonna with Child terracotta and a panel by Filippino Lippi portraying the Four Saints.
Luxury By Association
Surrounded by its rich tradition of art, music too reigned supreme in Lucca, and it was here that Giacomo Puccini was born in 1858. Second only to Verdi in Italian opera, Puccini composed La Bohème, Tosca, and Madame Butterfly.
Accompanied by magnificence, Lucca became a magnet for those seeking beauty, as well as those seeking upward mobility. That tradition of culture continues today. From March 31st until October 31st there is a nightly opera at the Oratorio di San Giuseppe Al Museo della Cattedrale di Lucca with admission at 17 Euros per person.
In 2014 the open air Summer Music Festival drew massive crowds to see performances from rock icons including the Eagles, Stevie Wonder, Nile Rogers and Chic, the Prodigy and the BackStreet Boys. It’s an event held in Lucca that’s not to be missed.
Italian cuisine is renowned worldwide, and Lucca is no exception. The city is a haven for food enthusiasts, offering an array of culinary delights that tantalize the taste buds. Indulge in the local specialty, “torta di verdura”. This is a savory vegetable pie that embodies the flavors of Tuscany.
Exploring Lucca’s streets will lead you to charming trattorias and osterias, where you can savor pasta dishes, exquisite wines, and the famous Tuscan bread. Don’t forget to end your culinary adventure with a taste of Lucca’s renowned pastries, such as “buccellato”, a sweet bread filled with anise seeds and raisins.