Founded by the Etruscans, Lucca became a Roman colony in 180 BC and a free comune
(self-governing city) during the 12th century, when it enjoyed a period of prosperity based
on the silk trade. In 1314 it briefly fell to Pisa but regained its independence under the
leadership of local adventurer Castruccio Castracani degli Anterminelli, and began to
amass territories in western Tuscany, including marble-rich Carrara. Castruccio died in
1328 but Lucca remained an independent republic for almost 500 years.
Napoleon ended all this in 1805 when he created the principality of Lucca and placed
one of the seemingly countless members of his family in need of an Italian fiefdom (this
time his sister Elisa) in control of all of Tuscany. Ten years later the city became a Bour-
bon duchy before being incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy. It miraculously escaped
being bombed during WWII, so the fabric of the centro storico has remained unchanged
Sights & Activities
Cobbled Via Fillungo threads its way through the medieval heart of the old city - cast your
eyes above the street-level bustle to appreciate ancient awnings and architectural details.
East is one of Tuscany's loveliest piazzas, oval cafe-ringed Piazza Anfiteatro , so-called after
the amphitheatre that was here in Roman times. Look closely to spot remnants of the am-
phitheatre's brick arches and masonry on the exterior walls of the medieval houses ringing
If you plan to visit the Museo della Cattedrale, Chiesa de SS Giovanni e Reparata and
the sacristy inside Cattedrale di San Martino, buy a cheaper combined ticket (adult/re-
duced €7/5) at any of the sights.
Torre Civica delle Ore