Lucca (// LOO-kə, Italian: [ˈlukka] (
|Comune di Lucca|
View of Lucca from the Torre Guinigi
Coat of arms
Location of Lucca in Italy
|Coordinates: 43°50′30″N 10°30′10″E|
|• Mayor||Alessandro Tambellini (PD)|
|• Total||185.5 km2 (71.6 sq mi)|
|Elevation||19 m (62 ft)|
|• Density||480/km2 (1,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Patron saint||St. Paulinus|
|Saint day||July 12|
Ancient and medieval city
Lucca was founded by the Etruscans (there are traces of an earlier Ligurian settlement in the 3rd century BC called Luk meaning marsh in which the name Lucca originated) and became a Roman colony in 180 BC. The rectangular grid of its historical centre preserves the Roman street plan, and the Piazza San Michele occupies the site of the ancient forum. Traces of the amphitheatre may still be seen in the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro.
Frediano, an Irish monk, was bishop of Lucca in the early sixth century. At one point, Lucca was plundered by Odoacer, the first Germanic King of Italy. Lucca was an important city and fortress even in the sixth century, when Narses besieged it for several months in 553. Under the Lombards, it was the seat of a duke who minted his own coins. The Holy Face of Lucca (or Volto Santo), a major relic supposedly carved by Nicodemus, arrived in 742. During the eighth-tenth centuries Lucca was a center of Jewish life, the community being led by the Kalonymos family (which at some point during this time migrated to Germany to become a major component of proto-Ashkenazic Jewry). Lucca became prosperous through the silk trade that began in the eleventh century, and came to rival the silks of Byzantium. During the tenth–eleventh centuries Lucca was the capital of the feudal margraviate of Tuscany, more or less independent but owing nominal allegiance to the Holy Roman Emperor.
After the death of Matilda of Tuscany, the city began to constitute itself an independent commune with a charter in 1160. For almost 500 years, Lucca remained an independent republic. There were many minor provinces in the region between southern Liguria and northern Tuscany dominated by the Malaspina; Tuscany in this time was a part of feudal Europe. Dante’s Divine Comedy includes many references to the great feudal families who had huge jurisdictions with administrative and judicial rights. Dante spent some of his exile in Lucca.
In 1273 and again in 1277, Lucca was ruled by a Guelph capitano del popolo (captain of the people) named Luchetto Gattilusio. In 1314, internal discord allowed Uguccione della Faggiuola of Pisa to make himself lord of Lucca. The Lucchesi expelled him two years later, and handed over the city to another condottiero, Castruccio Castracani, under whose rule it became a leading state in central Italy. Lucca rivalled Florence until Castracani's death in 1328. On 22 and 23 September 1325, in the battle of Altopascio, Castracani defeated Florence's Guelphs. For this he was nominated by Louis IV the Bavarian to become duke of Lucca. Castracani's tomb is in the church of San Francesco. His biography is Machiavelli's third famous book on political rule.
In 1408, Lucca hosted the convocation intended to end the schism in the papacy. Occupied by the troops of Louis of Bavaria, the city was sold to a rich Genoese, Gherardino Spinola, then seized by John, king of Bohemia. Pawned to the Rossi of Parma, by them it was ceded to Mastino II della Scala of Verona, sold to the Florentines, surrendered to the Pisans, and then nominally liberated by the emperor Charles IV and governed by his vicar. Lucca managed, at first as a democracy, and after 1628 as an oligarchy, to maintain its independence alongside of Venice and Genoa, and painted the word Libertas on its banner until the French Revolution in 1789.
After Napoleonic conquest
Lucca had been the second largest Italian city state (after Venice) with a republican constitution ("comune") to remain independent over the centuries.
From 1815 to 1847 it was a Bourbon-Parma duchy. The only reigning dukes of Lucca were Maria Luisa of Spain, who was succeeded by her son Charles II, Duke of Parma in 1824. Meanwhile, the Duchy of Parma had been assigned for life to Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, the second wife of Napoleon. In accordance with the Treaty of Vienna (1815), upon the death of Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma in 1847, Parma reverted to Charles II, Duke of Parma, while Lucca lost independence and was annexed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. As part of Tuscany, it became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1860 and finally part of the Italian State in 1861.
Walls, streets, and squares
The walls encircling the old town remain intact, even as the city expanded and modernized, unusual for cities in the region. Initially built as a defensive rampart, once the walls lost their military importance they became a pedestrian promenade, the Passeggiata delle Mura Urbane, a street atop the walls linking the bastions. It passes through the Bastions of Santa Croce, San Frediano, San Martino, San Pietro/Battisti, San Salvatore, La Libertà/Cairoli, San Regolo, San Colombano, Santa Maria, San Paolino/Catalani, and San Donato; and over the gates (Porte): San Donato, Santa Maria, San Jocopo, Elisa, San Pietro, and Sant'Anna. Each of the four principal sides of the structure is lined with a different tree species than the others.
The walled city is encircled by Piazzale Boccherini, Viale Lazzaro Papi, Viale Carlo Del Prete, Piazzale Martiri della Libertà, Via Batoni, Viale Agostino Marti, Viale G. Marconi (vide Guglielmo Marconi), Piazza Don A. Mei, Viale Pacini, Viale Giusti, Piazza Curtatone, Piazzale Ricasoli, Viale Ricasoli, Piazza Risorgimento (vide Risorgimento), and Viale Giosuè Carducci.
The town includes a number of public squares, most notably the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, site of ancient Roman amphitheater; but also Piazzale Verdi; Piazza Napoleone'; and Piazza San Michele.
Palaces, villas, houses, offices, and museums
- Ducal Palace: built on the site of Castruccio Castracani's fortress. Construction began by Ammannati in 1577–1582, and continued by Juvarra in the eighteenth century
- Pfanner Palace
- Villa Garzoni, noted for its water gardens
- Casa di Puccini: House of the opera composer, at the nearby Torre del Lago, where the composer summered. A Puccini opera festival takes place every July–August
- Torre delle Ore: ("The Clock Tower")
- Guinigi Tower and House: Panoramic view from tower-top balcony with oak trees
- National Museum of Villa Guinigi
- National Museum of Palazzo Mansi
- Orto Botanico Comunale di Lucca: botanical garden dating from 1820
- Academy of Sciences (1584)
- Teatro del Giglio: nineteenth-century opera house
- San Francesco Convent Complex and Campus, home to IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca graduate and doctoral school.
- San Ponziano, a Renaissance-style, former Roman Catholic church, now the university library for IMT Lucca.
There are many medieval, a few as old as the eighth century, basilica-form churches with richly arcaded façades and campaniles
- Duomo di San Martino: St Martin's Cathedral
- San Michele in Foro: Romanesque church
- San Giusto: Romanesque church
- Basilica di San Frediano
- Sant'Alessandro an example of medieval classicism
- Santa Giulia: Lombard church rebuilt in thirteenth century
- San Michele: church at Antraccoli, founded in 777, it was enlarged and rebuilt in the twelfth century with the introduction of a sixteenth-century portico
- San Giorgio church in the locality of Brancoli, built in the late twelfth century has a bell tower in Lombard-Romanesque style, the interior houses a massive ambo (1194) with four columns mounted on lion sculptures, a highly decorated Romanesque octagonal baptismal fount, and the altar is supported by six small columns with human figures
Lucca is the birthplace of composers Giacomo Puccini (La Bohème and Madama Butterfly), Nicolao Dorati, Francesco Geminiani, Gioseffo Guami, Luigi Boccherini, and Alfredo Catalani. It is also the birthplace of artist Benedetto Brandimarte. Since 2004, Lucca is home to IMT Lucca, a public research institution and a selective graduate school and part of the Superior Graduate Schools in Italy (Grandes écoles).
Other events include:
Lucca is twinned with:
- St. Anselm of Lucca, (1036–1086), bishop of Lucca
- Giovanni Arnolfini, merchant and arts patron
- Pompeo Batoni, painter
- Simone Bianchi, comics artist
- Luigi Boccherini, musician and composer
- Elisa Bonaparte, ruler of Lucca
- Giulio Carmassi, composer
- Castruccio Castracani, ruler of Lucca (1316–1328)
- Alfredo Catalani, composer
- Gusmano Cesaretti, photographer and artist
- Mario Cipollini, cyclist
- Matteo Civitali, sculptor
- Ivan Della Mea, singer-songwriter
- Theodor Döhler, composer and pianist; lived in Lucca from 1827–1829
- Ernesto Filippi, football referee
- Saint Frediano
- St. Gemma Galgani, mystic and saint
- Tejay van Garderen, cyclist
- Francesco Geminiani, musician and composer
- Giovanni Batista Giusti, harpsichord maker
- Agostino Giuntoli, nightclub owner and entrepreneur
- Gioseffo Guami, composer
- Pope Lucius III
- Vincenzo Lunardi, pioneer aeronaut
- Ludovico Marracci, priest and first translator of the Qur'an to Latin
- Felice Matteucci, engineer
- Italo Meschi, harp guitarist, poet, anarchist-pacifist
- Leo Nomellini, athlete
- Mario Pannunzio, journalist and politician
- Marcello Pera, politician and philosopher
- Giacomo Puccini, composer
- Eros Riccio, chess player
- Marco Rossi, footballer
- Daniele Rugani, footballer
- Renato Salvatori, actor
- Carlo Sforza, diplomat and politician
- Rinaldo and Ezilda Torre, founded the Torani syrup company in San Francisco using Luccan recipes from their hometown
- Rolando Ugolini, athlete
- Giuseppe Ungaretti, poet
- Antonio Vallisneri, scientist and physician
- Alfredo Volpi, painter
- Hugh of Lucca, medieval surgeon
- Saint Zita
- "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
- Population data from Istat
- Magrini, Graziano. "The Walls of Lucca". Scientific Itineraries of Tuscany. Museo Galileo. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
- Haegen, Anne Mueller von der; Strasser, Ruth F. (2013). "Lucca". Art & Architecture: Tuscany. Potsdam: H.F.Ullmann Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 978-3-8480-0321-1.
- Boatwright, Mary et al. The Romans: From Village to Empire, pg 229.
- See article on the Basilica di San Frediano.
- Encyclopædia Britannica (1911)
- "Church of Sant'Alessandro Maggiore | Lucca". Tuscanypass.com. 2010-12-16. Archived from the original on 2013-01-23. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- "IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca - Scuola di Dottorato IMT Alti Studi di Lucca". Imtlucca.it. 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
- Lucca Film Festival
- Lucca Digital Photo Fest
- Lucca Jazz Donna
- "Lucca e i gemellaggi". comune.lucca.it (in Italian). Lucca. Retrieved 2019-12-16.
- "Ystävyyskaupungit". hameenlinna.fi (in Finnish). Hämeenlinna. Retrieved 2019-12-16.
- "About" Archived 2010-02-11 at the Wayback Machine SimoneBianchi.com, retrieved March 25, 2012
- The Quarterly review, Volume 139 Google Books
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