What to see in Lucca
Close to the Palace
Lucca is one of the most important Italian cities of art and is also famous outside of its national borders especially for its intact city walls of the XV-XVII century that have a perimeter of approximately 4,223 meters around the historical centre of the city. Lucca is also one of the 4 Italian provincial capitals to have intact city walls from the Renaissance, along with Ferrara, Grosseto and Bergamo. The city walls were transformed into a pedestrian promenade during the second half of the nineteenth century. These walls are the best preserved in Europe since they were never used for defensive purposes in past centuries (It should be noted that until the first ‘90s of the 1800s, the walls were used as a proper ring road, including heavy traffic, around the city because of the considerable size of the road. These are the only example of walls with this size and use in the world).
Consequently, the original form of the historical city centre remained almost intact and therefore it includes a variety of valuable buildings such as the numerous medieval churches with their great architectural richness (Lucca was once known as the “city of 100 churches” because of the presence of a large number of churches in its historical centre, consecrated and non, in the past and nowadays), towers and belfries as well as monumental Renaissance palaces with their remarkable linear style.
The city also boasts beautiful urban spaces. The most famous is that of the Amphitheatre square, created by Lorenzo Nottolini on the ruins of the roman amphitheatre. This square is architecturally unique.
The main street of the historical centre is the narrow and medieval Via Fillungo, where the major businesses of the city have their headquarters .
Other picturesque squares are Piazza San Michele, the historic heart of the city, and piazza San Martino, the religious centre where the famous Cathedral of San Martino stands.
Piazza Napoleone was commissioned by Elisa Baciocchi, during her principality, and created by demolishing old medieval buildings including a church. This square was recently renovated. The square with its structure, trees, surrounding streets encircling the square, the central monument, all in symmetry with the Ducal Palace, (currently the offices of the Provincial Government) is an example of early nineteenth century neoclassical town planning. Piazza del Giglio is adjacent to this square and is overlooked by the Theatre with the same name (Teatro del Giglio), which is a traditional theatre.
Precisely because of this immense historical and monumental wealth, a motion to include Lucca’s historical centre in UNESCO’s World Heritage List has recently been presented.
Translated from Wikipedia, Lucca, Wikipedia, L’enciclopedia libera, 27 ottobre 2011, 21:55 UTC <http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucca>