City of Lucca
This quaint and evocative city retains the charm of a small and ancient Italian City State. Over the centuries it has managed to hold on to its independence and freedom by adopting a cautious policy. Having miraculously escaped the devastation of war, today it boasts one of the most extraordinary Tuscan art heritage.
The imposing tree-lined Renaissance walls which totally enclose it, the maze of medieval streets flanked by towers and smart boutiques, the enchanting Romanesque churches and bright inviting squares captivate the visitor who stands in awe of such unexpected beauty.
The historical centre, now a pedestrian precinct, plunges the visitor back in time and provides the perfect setting to savour the old world charm, where time and space take on a new dimension, no longer found in today’s modern cities.
Meeting with the guide and visit to:
–Piazza S. Michele in Foro, to admire the church bearing the same name
–Piazza Napoleone, from this square we can admire Palazzo Ducale and Teatro del Giglio (the theatre)
–Cathedral San Martino, important destination for medieval pilgrims who came here to worship “Il Volto Santo”( The holy Countenance of Christ), is still today an important symbol of the city. Inside the sacristy is the renowned sarcophagus of Ilaria del Carretto by Jacopo della Quercia. A definite must (admission fee)
-Characteristic medieval streets, worthy of mention is “via degli antiquari” where we can see the fine antique shops and the teeming and smart Via Fillungo
–Piazza Anfiteatro, built on the ruins of the ancient Roman arena, is still today one of the most picturesque landmarks of the town
–Guinigi Tower, one of its kind, has a very suggestive tree lined hanging garden right on the top. A must to see
–Basilica di San Frediano, is one of the most ancient churches in Lucca, famous for the splendid gilded mosaic on the façade
-The 16th century Walls, built for defence reasons, are today a public garden for the enjoyment of all. You can take a leisurely stroll, ride your bike or even take a ride on a carriage to better appreciate their beauty.
Palaces and Museums
It is possible to change or extend the city tour including a visit to some of the most beautiful “Palazzi” belonging to the merchants of Lucca
–Palazzo Mansi, one of the most important noble palaces in Lucca. Elaborately furnished, is the symbol of wealth achieved by the mercantile families of Lucca. Today it is a National Museum which houses paintings from the 16th to the 20th centuries (admission fee)
–Villa Guinigi, an ancient Gothic villa which belonged to the Guinigi family. Today it is a national museum which houses in its two halls, paintings and sculptures from Lucca and its territory from the very origins to the 18th century
–Palazzo Pfanner, this is one of the few city palaces which boasts a Baroque garden of exceptional beauty, probably designed by Filippo Juvarra. The perspective of the hedges and allegorical statues recreates the typical stage setting of the late 17th century. It is also possible to visit the palace inside (admission fee)
–Palazzo Ducale, this is the government palace of the Republic of Lucca designed by Bartolomeo Ammannati. In the 16th century the interior was completely renovated in the Neo-Classical style and later became the residence of the Princess Elisa Baciocchi Bonaparte. It is today the “Prefettura” and the local provincial administration
( free admission only in the boardrooms and by appointment )
–Villa Buonvisi Bottini, this palace heralded the villas with gardens in Lucca. It was built in the 16th century on the inside of the Renaissance city walls representing a status symbol of the powerful Buonvisi family. Today it is the office of the local city hall.
(free admission only in the reception rooms and by appointment)