Italy - Tuscany - Lucca -

Lucca 2

LINKS to other pages in the Italy website and the Colin Day Travelling Days series:

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1 : Barga
2 : Pisa
3 : Lucca
4 : Portovénere
5 : Florence
6 : Siena
7 : Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
8 : Apuan Alps
9 : Guest Book:

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During the Gothic wars the city was besieged and taken by Totila (550). Lucca later fell into the hands of the Lombards, becoming a place of great importance and the favourite seat of the Marquesses of Tuscany. In 1081 Henry IV made it a free city and conferred other favours upon it, especially in the way of trade. (This was the origin of the Republic of Lucca, which lasted until 1799.)

From 1088 to 1144, Lucca was continually at war with her rival Pisa but either by conquest or purchase increased her possessions. In the thirteenth century, despite her wars with Pisa, Florence, and the imperial cities, Lucca continued to increase her power and commerce, but in 1313 the city was taken by Uguccione della Faggiuola, Lord of Pisa.

The Lucchesi, however, under the most dramatic circumstances, freed themselves and chose as captain their fellow-citizen, Castruccio degli Antelminelli, also known as Castracane (1316). Castruccio drove out the Pisans, was given the title of Defender of the People, and received from Louis the Bavarian the hereditary title of Duke of Lucca.



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On the death of Castruccio, Louis conferred Lucca on Francesco, a relative, but enemy, of Castruccio. The Lucchesi, however, placed themselves under John of Bohemia who in 1333 pawned the city to the Rossi of Parma, who ceded it to Mastino della Scala (1335). Mastino later sold to the Florentines for 100,000 florins (1341). This displeased the Pisans, who occupied the city in 1342. It was liberated by Charles IV (1360). A relatively peaceful situation in Lucca remained from then on.

In 1799 Lucca was joined to the Cisalpine Republic and in 1805 Napoleon made it a dukedom for his cousin Felice Bacciochi. In 1814 it was occupied by the Neapolitans, and later by the Austrians. In 1817 it was given to Maria Luisa, widow of the King of Etruria, whose son Carlo Ludovico ceded it to Tuscany in 1847.

Lucca is twinned with the English market town of Abingdon, near Oxford.

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The Clock Tower  (left and below)



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Lucca is the birthplace of composers Francesco Geminiani, Gioseffo Guami, Luigi Boccherini, Giacomo Puccini and Alfredo Catalani.



The statue of Puccini (1858-1924) (below) is situated near his birthplace on Via di Poggio.

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The Guinigi tower  (left and below)The Case Guinigi and the Guinigi Tower represent a good example of the Medieaval architecture in Lucca. The Case Guinigi was a group of mansions and defensive towers where one of the most important banker families of the town, the Guinigi, lived. Paolo Guinigi ruled the town during the first half of the fifteenth century.

Today only one of the four original towers survives. It is 44.25 metres high and is built of brick, sandstone from Matraia, and Verrucano from the Monti Pisani. The tower construction was begun in 1384 and from the top, where seven holm-oaks grow, there is a spectacular view of the town and surrounding countryside.

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After an exhausting climb, the summit of the tower (above)



The visit to Lucca, with more views from the tower, continues on the next page.
Please click on the 'Next' button (lower right).


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