Ilaria del Carretto

Ilaria del Carretto (1379 – 8 December 1405) was an Italian noblewoman and the second wife of Paolo Guinigi, the lord of Lucca from 1400 to 1430.


Ilaria del Carretto was born in Zuccarello, the daughter of Carlo, the Marchese del Carretto.[1] In 1403 she married Paolo Guinigi and they had two children, Ladislao Guinigi, and a daughter, also named Ilaria. She died in Lucca at the age of twenty-six after giving birth to her daughter.[2]


Upon her death, Paolo commissioned the sculptor, Jacopo della Quercia, to create a marble sarcophagus now located in the Cathedral of San Martino in Lucca. In the finished work, she reclines peacefully with a dog, symbol of fidelity,[3] at her feet.

The sarcophagus was not actually used and Ilaria del Carretto is buried in the Guinigi chapel of Santa Lucia in San Francesco.[4]

In 1991, James Beck an American art historian and authority on the sculpture of Jacopo della Quercia severely criticized a 1990 restoration of the tomb which removed the patina. He was unsuccessfully sued for defamation by the conservator.

The sarcophagus features some of the earliest putti in sculpture since classical antiquity and predates those of Donatello.


  1. Marquand, Allan (1915). "The Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto". American Journal of Archaeology. Archaeological Institute of America. XIX (1): 24–33. doi:10.2307/497261. JSTOR 497261.
  2. Marquand (1915).
  3. Ferguson, George (1966). Signs & Symbols in Christian Art. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 15.
  4. Moretti, John (2010). Frommer's Florence, Tuscany and Umbria (Frommer's Complete Guides). Frommers. p. 274. ISBN 9780470528044. Retrieved 26 October 2013.

Further reading

  • Neria De Giovanni, Neria (2007). Ilaria Del Carretto. La donna del Giungi. Lucca: Pacini Fazzi. ISBN 9788872467961.
  • Paoli, Marco (1999). The Monument of Ilaria del Carretto in the Cathedral of Lucca. Lucca: Pacini Fazzi.
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