Lucca's labyrinth

The Labyrinth

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… and then, without knowing how or why, I found myself within the labyrinth of lights and shadows, which I had shown and explained to others countless times, without having ever entered it. This almost seems to paraphrase the beginning of the famous tercet from Dante’s Divine Comedy where “the straight path was lost”. The analogy has often crossed my mind when thinking of the 12th-century labyrinth located on the pillar next to the bell tower of the Cathedral of San Martino. I am a tourist guide of Lucca. For at least twenty five years, I have shown this sculpted marble relief to thousands of tourists. I do not remember how many times I have narrated its tale and tried to explain its significance but always from the “outside”. Then suddenly, without intending to, I found myself inside it....

Lucca doors

Doors and Doorways in Lucca

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A daily act repeated innumerable times such as closing the door of your home behind you, in places like Europe, especially Italy, can be equivalent to leaving behind a piece of history or even a veritable work of art. Lucca, a Tuscan city, enclosed by tree-lined 16th-century walls, has preserved its buildings through the centuries. Like multilayer and multi flavoured cakes, plaster, bricks, stones, roof tiles, doors and windows have been kept or changed seamlessly to create buildings of multiple layers and ‘flavours’. In particular, many doors and doorways have acquired a certain allure through the ages. It does not matter whether they conceal the entrance to a modest dwelling or to the loggia of an ancient palazzo. It does not matter if they are doors to shops or to secret gardens. They are beautiful and fascinating. Perhaps due...