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This article is about the city. For the videogame character, see Lucca (Chrono Trigger). For the footballer, see Lucca Borges de Brito.
Comune di Lucca
02 Lucca seen from Torre Guinigi
View of Lucca from the Torre Guinigi
Flag of Lucca
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Lucca is located in Italy
Location of Lucca in Italy
Coordinates: 43°50′30″N 10°30′10″E / 43.84167°N 10.50278°E / 43.84167; 10.50278Coordinates: 43°50′30″N 10°30′10″E / 43.84167°N 10.50278°E / 43.84167; 10.50278
Country Italy
Region Tuscany
Province Lucca (LU)
Frazioni see list
 • Mayor Alessandro Tambellini (PD)
 • Total 185.5 km2 (71.6 sq mi)
Elevation 19 m (62 ft)
Population (30 November 2012)[1]
 • Total 87,467
 • Density 470/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Lucchesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 55100
Dialing code 0583
Patron saint St. Paulinus
Saint day July 12
Website Official website
Duomo di San Martino (the Cathedral).

Lucca (Italian pronunciation: [ˈlukka]) is a city and comune in Tuscany, Central Italy, situated on the river Serchio in a fertile plain near the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the province of Lucca. It is famous among other things for its intact Renaissance-era city walls.[2][3]


Ancient and medieval city[edit]

Lucca was founded by the Etruscans (there are traces of a pre-existing Ligurian settlement) 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 can still be seen in the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro.

At the Lucca Conference, in 56 BC, Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus reaffirmed their political alliance known as the First Triumvirate.[4]

Frediano, an Irish monk, was bishop of Lucca in the early 6th century.[5] At one point, Lucca was plundered by Odoacer, the first Germanic King of Italy. Lucca was an important city and fortress even in the 6th 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 8th - 10th centuries Lucca was a center of Jewish life, the Jewish 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 11th century, and came to rival the silks of Byzantium. During the 10–11th centuries Lucca was the capital of the feudal margraviate of Tuscany, more or less independent but owing nominal allegiance to the Holy Roman Emperor.

First republic[edit]

Main article: Republic of Lucca

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.[6]

After Napoleonic conquest[edit]

Palazzo Pfanner, garden view.

Lucca had been the second largest Italian city state (after Venice) with a republican constitution ("comune") to remain independent over the centuries.

In 1805, Lucca was conquered by Napoleon, who installed his sister Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi as "Queen of Etruria".

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.

Main sights[edit]

Palazzo Ducale
Passeggiata delle Mura
Via Fillungo view from the Clock Tower
Autumn atop bastions.
View of Lucca from the Clock Tower.

Walls, streets, and squares[edit]

The walls encircling the old town remain intact, even as the city expanded and modernized, unusual for cities in the region. 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 is lined with a different tree species.

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.

San Michele at Antraccoli

Palaces, villas, houses, offices and museums[edit]


There are many medieval, a few as old as the 8th century, basilica-form churches with richly arcaded façades and campaniles.


Lucca is the birthplace of composers Giacomo Puccini (La Bohème and Madama Butterfly), Nicalao Dorati, Francesco Geminiani, Gioseffo Guami, Luigi Boccherini, and Alfredo Catalani. It is also the birthplace of Bruno Menconi and artist Benedetto Brandimarte.



Lucca annually hosts the Lucca Summer Festival. The 2006 edition saw Eric Clapton, Placebo, Massive Attack, Roger Waters, Tracy Chapman and Santana play live in the Piazza Napoleone.

Lucca hosts the annual Lucca Comics and Games festival, Europe's largest festival for comics and related subjects.

Other events include:

  • Lucca Film Festival[8]
  • Lucca Digital Photo Fest[9]
  • Procession of Santa Croce, on 13 of September. Costume procession through the town's roads.
  • Lucca Jazz Donna[10]

Film and television[edit]

Mauro Bolognini's 1958 film Giovani mariti with Sylva Koscina is set and was filmed in Lucca.

International relations[edit]

Lucca is twinned with:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Population data from Istat
  2. ^ Magrini, Graziano. "The Walls of Lucca". Scientific Itineraries of Tuscany. Museo Galileo. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  3. ^ DONADIO, Rachel. "A Walled City in Tuscany Clings to Its Ancient Menu". March 12, 2009 (New York Times). Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Boatwright, Mary et al. The Romans: From Village to Empire, pg 229.
  5. ^ See article on the Basilica di San Frediano.
  6. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica (1911)
  7. ^ "Church of Sant'Alessandro Maggiore | Lucca". 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  8. ^ Lucca Film Festival
  9. ^ Lucca Digital Photo Fest
  10. ^ Lucca Jazz Donna
  11. ^ "About" Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  12. ^ The Quarterly review, Volume 139 Google Books

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]