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The old city

View of the piazza anfiteatro in Lucca

2000 years of history to show!

The reconstruction of the origins of Lucca is still today the subject of historical research. Its name "Lucca" derives from the word Celto-Ligurian Luk, which means "swampy place" but also "light" and indicated an empty space in the dense vegetation. Recent archaeological discoveries suggest instead an Etruscan origin of the city.

However, it was the Romans who left the most evident traces of their passage with the foundation of the walled city and the orthogonal layout of the streets, in which the "cardo" corresponding to the actual via Fillungo - via Cenami and the decumanus maximum corresponding to via San Paolino, via Santa Croce - is still recognizable. The Forum, where today one of the most important and evocative squares of the city opens up, Piazza san Michele and the Amphitheater, built in the second half of the 1st century AD outside the mighty walls.

In the Middle Ages, important communication routes passed through Lucca, first of all the Francigena road of the Pilgrims and of the merchants of precious silk clothes who, from the Mediterranean travelled far to the markets of northern Europe. The weavers and merchants of Lucca knew moments of great notoriety for the refinement of the embroidered fabrics, and political weight in the courts of Europe.

The city became a small but safe Republic protected by a new imposing circle of walls in which it lived in contact with the world but sheltered from the world until the arrival of the Bonapartes. Elisa was princess of Lucca to the beginning of the nineteenth century. Maria Luisa di Borbone followed her and both worked to modernize the city, which had lived too long in its isolation. 


view of the external wall of the city walls of Lucca



The result is a mosaic of times and spaces in which to always discover new views and profiles. It will be because of the impressive inlays of colored marble on the two main churches, it will be that the third has instead a large mosaic, the largest of its kind on the east coast, it will be for the tangle of small medieval streets, narrow and winding that undermine the lattice Roman, Lucca is usually presented as a medieval city, but it is a tight suit for a city whose architecture has passed through the centuries adapting and always preserving its memory, but Lucca will always reserve some new and unexpected views.


facade of church st michael in Lucca


From the rigorous network of streets of the Roman-founded city, to the tortuous lanes of the medieval period on which the great squares of the basilical churches open up, from the imposing Renaissance walls to the rich eighteenth-century palaces of the aristocratic merchants, from the desire for large imperial spaces that characterize nineteenth-century Lucca , to contemporary Lucca, in a balanced mix of all these ages and all lifestyles.

The peculiarity of Lucca is the very long story of a city that has lived intensely every historical period and has kept memory of each. Its best profile is precisely that of a city that has been able to change over the centuries, add, remove, adjust large squares and small alleys, always with great delicacy to offer visitors an ever new experience, always different landscapes.


view of Palazzo Pfnaer and the apse of church san frediano from the citywalls of Lucca


Its mighty walls, a unique building in the European panorama, have thus become an urban park where people can meet, walk, enjoy sports from a singular viewpoint, the city. Its squares, stage for small and large concerts where the musical tradition, of which Giacomo Puccini is the most famous representative, finds space in every season and gives space to every musical genre.

The birthplace of the Maestro, in the historic center of Lucca with family memories, the room in which he was born, the rooms where he lived, the piano with which he composed famous arias all over the world, is a must for lovers of his music and heart of an articulated widespread museum complex that invites you to discover the personality, the passions, the genius of the great composer and the places of his life.





In Lucca the aptitude for art and culture, for music as architecture, have been preserved over time. The expressions of classical and contemporary art find their place, sometimes they physically occupy the whole city as happens on the occasion of dedicated events, from classical to rock and jazz, from cardboard sculpture to comics.


view of Piazza san Frediano with the church



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