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Lucca, Province of Lucca, Tuscany

Situated in the northern part of Tuscany, the city is rich of ancient monuments, medieval churches with rich facades and belltowers, some dating from the 8th century.

After Venice, it was the second largest Italian city-state with a constitution to remain an independent republic over the centuries. Lucca was the birthplace of composers Francesco Geminiani, Gioseffo Guami, Luigi Boccherini, Giacomo Puccini and Alfredo Catalani. The "Casa di Puccini" is open to the public. At nearby Torre del Lago there is a Puccini opera festival every year during the summer.

Info

  • Surface area: 185.5 sqkm
  • Altitude: 19 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 84,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 55100
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0583
  • Patron Saint: St. Paolino, celebrated on 12 July
    Find more on the official website of the City of Lucca
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Provinces of Tuscany

Administrative Division

The 81 Frazioni of Lucca: Antraccoli, Aquilea, Arancio, Arliano, Arsina, Balbano, Capannori, Cappella, Carignano, Castagnori, Castiglioncello, Cerasomma, Chiatri, Ciciana, Deccio di Brancoli, Fagnano, Farneta, Gattaiola, Gignano di Brancoli, Maggiano, Massa Pisana, Mastiano, Meati, Monte San Quirico, Montuolo, Mutigliano, Mugnano, Nave, Nozzano, Nozzano San Pietro, Nozzano Vecchia, Ombreglio di Brancoli, Palmata, Piaggione, Piazza di Brancoli, Piazzano, Picciorana, Pieve di Brancoli, Pieve Santo Stefano, Ponte a Moriano, Ponte del Giglio, Ponte San Pietro, Pontetetto, Saltocchio, San Cassiano a Vico, San Cassano di Moriano, San Concordio di Moriano, San Donato, San Filippo, San Gimignano, San Giusto di Brancoli, San Lorenzo a Vaccoli, San Lorenzo di Moriano, San Macario in Monte, San Macario in Piano, San Michele di Moriano, San Michele in Escheto, San Pancazio, San Pietro a Vico, San Quirico in Moriano, San Vito, Sant'Alessio, Sant'Angelo in Campo, Sant'Ilario di Brancoli, Santa Maria a Colle, Santa Maria del Giudice, Santissima Annunziata, Santo Stefano di Moriano, Sesto di Moriano, Sorbano del Giudice, Sorbano del Vescovo, Stabbiano, Tempagnano di Lunata, Torre alla Maddalena, Torre Alta, Tramonte, Tramonte di Brancoli, Vallebuia, Vecoli, Vicopelago, Vinchiana.

History - Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Lucca was founded by the Etruscans and became a Roman colony in 180 BC. The rectangular grid of its historical center preserves the Roman street plan, and the Piazza S. Michele occupies the site of the ancient forum. Plundered by Odoacer, Lucca was an important fortress at the time of Narses, who besieged it for three months in AD. 553, and under the Lombards it was the seat of a duke. It became prosperous through the silk trade in the 11th century. In the 10th and 11th centuries Lucca was the capital of the feudal margravate of Tuscany, owing nominal allegiance to the Holy Roman Emperor. After the death of the Matilda of Tuscany, the city became an independent commune with a charter of 1160 and for almost 500 years was an independent republic.

Internal strife afforded an opportunity in 1314 to Uguccione della Faggiuola to become lord of Lucca, but the Lucchesi expelled him two years afterwards, and handed their city to the condottiere Castruccio Castracani, under whose tyranny it became for a short time a rival to Florence, until Castracani's death in 1328.

History - Modern Times

Lucca managed, at first as a democracy, and after 1628 as an oligarchy, to maintain its independence, and had the word Libertas on its banner till the French Revolution. In 1805 Lucca was occupied by Napoleon, who made his sister Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi Princess of Lucca. After 1815 it became a Bourbon-Parma duchy, then part of Tuscany in 1847 and finally in 1861 part of the Italian State.

What to see

    Cathedral of San Martino
  • The Romanesque Cathedral of San Martino, begun in 1063 by Bishop Anselm (later Pope Alexander II), of which the apse and the belltower remain, while the nave and transepts were rebuilt in the Gothic style in the 14th century and the west front was begun in 1204 by Guido Bigarelli of Como ("Guidetto"). In the nave is a little octagonal shrine for the most precious relic of Lucca, a cedar-wood crucifix, carved by Nicodemus, and miraculously conveyed to Lucca in 782, generally called Volto Santo, because the face of the Saviour is considered a true likeness.
  • The church of San Francesco which hosts Castracani's tomb. Chiesa di San Michele
  • The church of San Michele.
  • The walls of the old town, which remained intact as the city expanded and modernized, today a promenade ring around the town.

Where to stay