The stone known as the “Devil’s Stone” of Palazzo Bernardini

Eleven Unusual Things to See in Lucca
If you search the web for things you should see or do when visiting an area, you’ll probably find a list of the top ten things and usually they’re pretty typical.
Well, I’m suggesting eleven because I’ve decided to go one better.
Actually, if I were to think of all the particular places or things to see or do in Lucca, the list would be endless.

But let’s begin.

Palazzo Bernardini is on Via Santa Croce, one of the city’s main streets. To be precise, it stands along the route that all the pilgrims, who were passing through Lucca, would take to go to Rome. A very visible palazzo to passers-by. Rebuilt over the remains of an old medieval dwelling in the first half of the 16th century and in a decidedly Florentine mannerist style, its noteworthy size is a sign of its importance.

However, the building is imprinted in the memory of the people of Lucca for a legend associated with it.

They say that the Bernardini family ordered their worthy architect (to this day anonymous, but perhaps Civitali) to knock down all the old buildings opposite the new palazzo which were blocking the sunlight. Consequently, even a tiny church dedicated to the Virgin Mary was demolished. At that point, the devil was free to do as he wished seeing the church was no longer present to ward off evil. So he decided to pull a nasty trick on the architect!

In a mocking tone, the devil told the architect that he would never be able to complete the palazzo.
The last stone used to frame one of the windows facing the newly created piazza would curve irremediably forever. And that’s what happened. The devil touched the stone with his claws and it bent just as he had predicted. The curved stone is still there and no one has ever been able to remedy the problem.

Try and see if you can find it!


The Last Supper by Tintoretto in the Cathedral of San Martino
The exterior graffiti on the Church of San Michele
A curious story regarding the tomb of the merchant Tignosini
The replica of the Holy House of Our Lady of Loreto in the Church of Santa Maria Nera

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