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The construction of the city walls, as we know them now, started under Paolo Guinigi and lasted about a century. 
Rent a bicycle and enjoy the route around the city and the marvelous views from above.
Lucca was founded at the confluence of the main shopping streets and religious. The first settlements of which we are aware dates back to Celtic times, from which is derived the name "Luc" meaning marshy place. From time to time, in fact, the Serchio River flooded the area. The rehabilitation of the area began with the civilization of the Etruscans and the Ligurians who were involved in the reclamation of "swamp".
Right outside Hotel Universo, you will find it on your right. In 1577 Niccolò Ammannati was commissioned with the construction of this building which supposed to be the symbol of power. Noteworthy is the deliberate asymmetry to underscore the spontaneousness of Lucca's Renaissance as opposed to the symmetry typical of the style in Florence. Filippo Juvarra too contributed to the works creating the main portal. Finally, Lorenzo Nottolini, on commission of Elisa Baciocchi Bonaparte, designed the structure according the canons of those days.
Rebuilt in the 13th century by Dominican monks on a 7th-century oratory, it was not completed yet it can boast that it hosted the priest Girolamo Savonarola.
Outside of Hotel Universo, turn left and you will find Piazza San Giovanni (St. John's Square) right before you.

It was the first see of the bishops of the diocese. At the beginning of the 8th century the dignity of cathedral was transferred to San Martino and it retained the right to the baptismal font. The current layout mostly dates back to the reconstruction of the second half of the 12th century, but its origins are much more ancient.

The complex of Santa Reparata was built in the 5th century in an area where a Roman settlement once stood. Around the 6th century the complex took on the function of cemetery, but in the 8th century the church was opened again. In the9th century a crypt was opened to host the relics of St. Pantaleon, which were found in 1714. Between the 10th and 11th centuries a new series of works were carried out.

At the end of the 17th century the chapel of St. Ignatius designed by Domenico Martinelli was opened on the left side: it is one of the most interesting baroque creations in Lucca. It is entirely coated with polychrome marbles with fresco decorations in the dome portraying the Glory of St. Ignatius.
Outside Hotel Universo, turn left and take Via Duomo and continue straight to Piazza San Martino.

St. Frediano had it built in the 6th century, but there are no traces left of the early layout. All of the following interventions can be seen in this monument. Noteworthy in the relief of the Deposition attributed to Nicola Pisano (1278-1287). There are many fascinating works: the fonts, the altar of St. Regulus by Matteo Civitali of 1498; the Last Supper by Jacopo Tintoretto; the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto, wife of Paolo Guinigi, who died at the age of 26 in 1405; a masterpiece by Jacopo della Quercia; an altarpiece by Ghirlandaio. Right at the center of the nave we find the Chapel of the Volto Santo (Holy Face), it too by Matteo Civitali, and, on the altar, the Crucifix of the Volto Santo, one of the greatest masterpieces in sacred wooden sculpture. According to the legend, Nicodemus carved it using the wood of a cedar of Lebanon. The crucifix was then loaded on a boat that crossed the Mediterranean to reach Lucca. Lucca has a strong bond with the crucifix, which is celebrated on September 13th with a huge and breathtaking procession through the city's streets.

Cathedral Museum

It faces Piazza Antelminelli. You can admire collections from the Cathedral and from the Church of Santi Giovanni e Reparata. Illuminated manuscripts, Paolo Guinigi's crucifix of the Pisans, paintings, sculptures and jewelry dating back to Lucca's Renaissance and vestments and church plate.
In early 19th century the Royal University of Lucca used it for experiments on local and exotic tree species to be planted on estates in the Lucca area. The initial idea was conceived by Elisa Baciocchi Bonaparte, but it was Maria Luisa of Bourbon who brought it to life. Visitors can still see the first cedar of Lebanon planted here. It has an arboretum, pond, medicinal and food plant collections, greenhouses, a library, and a germination station. The Botanical Museum can boast 10,000 dried plant specimens.
The ancient Roman forum used to stand here and it is up to this very day the center of life in Lucca. The marvelous pavement is made of bricks arranged with a herringbone pattern. In the 18th century it was raised by the height of two gray stone steps with blocks of white limestone and marked off with columns and chains. At the center you can see the stature dedicated to Francesco Burlamacchi, standard-bearer of Lucca in 1553 who fiercely opposed the rule of the Medici and was sentenced to death by Charles V.

Giosuè Carducci praised him with the following words:
"E fu primo Burlamacchi
The first was Burlamacchi
dato a morte e pur non vinto
sentenced to death yet not beaten
contro il fato e Carlo quinto
against fate and Charles V
il futuro ad attestar"
to bear witness to the future

On both sides of the square you can admire the typical medieval homes with multiple lancet windows made of many openings and trefoil arches.

On one side stands Palazzo del Podestà, later on called Palazzo Pretorio, with its broad arcade hosting the monument to Matteo Civitali.

At the center of the square stands the Church of San Michele. It was built in 1070 in the area where a previous religious edifice dating to 795 once stood.

It has four rows of loggias that crown the apse finely decorated in late Romanesque style.

At the top of the facade you can admire the bronze statue of St. Michael Archangel killing the dragon.

The interior is reminiscent of a basilica and it has a nave and two aisles in Romanesque style. As you stroll through the interior, you can admire the church's paintings and sculptures. You will also find a marvelous terra-cotta by Andrea della Robbia and a painting by Filippino Lippi.
Outside Hotel Universo, turn right in Via Beccheria, then right in Via Roma and then left in Via Fillungo.

The ancient Cardo and Decumanus used to correspond to Via Fillungo and Via Roma. It is the city's most trendy street with its shops and the many people bustling along it. The ancient and modern blend together in the match between shops and medieval brick buildings. You can find the houses of Matteo Civitali and Giovanni Sercambi (Sercambi: Lucca 1348-1424: chronicler and narrator of the 14th century.
Speziale actively participated in the city's political life supporting the Guinigi family). The birthplace of Boccherini (Lucca 1743-1805. He was an Italian composer and cellist. A prolific composer, mainly of chamber music, he was the most important representative of instrumental music in neo-Latin European countries during the period of Vienna Classicism.)
Piazza dell'Anfiteatro (Amphitheater Square) was built on the ruins of the ancient Roman amphitheater dating to the 2nd century AD and it was a venue for performances up to the 6th century. The closed elliptical shape is that of the ancient amphitheater.

The square was built in the Middle Ages and it was called "parlascio", a distortion of the Latin word "paralisium" (amphitheater), which, influenced by the word "parlare" (to speak), was said to indicate the place where the meetings of citizens were held.

The amphitheater was stripped of its material over the centuries to build other constructions. Later on, thanks to Carlo Lodovico in 1830, Nottolini, an architect, was commissioned with its renovation and the result is the square as we see it today. The houses follow the theater's elliptical layout and fragments can still be seen in the external parts where we see the 55 arches resting on pillars with bichrome bands of bricks alternated with stone. The one to the east is the only original Roman arch, while the others are remakes by Nottolini.
Via degli Asili

Built in 1667, it has a late Renaissance touch to it and it is a typical example of Lucca's taste for asymmetry.

It is embraced by a marvelous Italian-style garden by Filippo Juvarra. Then there are the imposing stairway and the frescoes of the monumental hall by Scorsini and De Santi (first half of the 18th century). On the inside the Palazzo hosts, among other things, an exhibition of ancient surgical and medical instruments once owned by Pietro Pfanner (1864-1935), surgeon and mayor of Lucca from 1920 to 1922.

In recent decades the Palazzo was chosen as the movie set for films such as "Il Marchese del Grillo" by Mario Monicelli and "The Portrait of a Lady" by Jane Campion.
It was built back in the 12th cent. It was built on an older church, which took its name from Santa Maria Nera (Our Holy Black Lady) because it had a copy of the statue of Our Lady of Loreto. Of the original medieval church only the two minor apses and the right side with a portal survive. The latter is topped by an archivolt decorated with a plant relief and on the two sides there are two lions. It takes its name from the “curtis Rolandinga” where it was built. The interior has unique examples of baroque art in Lucca such as the gilt capitals, the arches and the painted ceiling. The perfect replica of the Chapel-Sanctuary of the Holy House of Loreto dated 1662 is charming. 
Currently the State Library counts some 500,000 books.
Giacomo Puccini’s Birthplace Museum was established in 1973 and is situated in the house where Giacomo Puccini, the last of a family of musicians that dominated the musical scene in Lucca, was born.  In this house, situated at Corte San Lorenzo, Giacomo Puccini was born on the 22nd December 1858. Raised by his mother, he spent his childhood and early youth here before moving to Milan in order to continue his studies. However, he remembered the house where he was born all his life and wrote in his will that it should remain property of the family. The house where he was born is certainly the first one visitors should see. A visit of the place where Giacomo grew up will help you to become familiar and learn more about this great figure of classical music.
September 13th 2011 the museum will reopen to the public after years of restorations. There will be events and celebrations, we will post the program as soon as we get it! 
The “Spedale per i Pazzi” of Fregionaia was founded by the Republic of Lucca in the second half of the eighteenth century. On 20th of April 1773, with the settlement of the personnel, the “Spedale de' Pazzi” of Fregionaia was officially opened.
On 9th of July 1942 Mario Tobino the long experience in Maggiano as doctor in the Mental Hospital of Lucca, where he worked for more than forty years. 
Mario Tobino has told about his days in Maggiano in his book "Le libere donne di Magliano". 
Today in the ex-hospital hosts the museum of the history of psychiatry.
The Agora is a public library and offers services on the basis of equality of access for all. Promotes information and knowledge by providing books, newspapers, magazines, DVDs, audio CDs, also performs the function of preservation of documentary heritage
The cultural center Agora is housed in the Convent of the "Serviti" Fathers built around 1300 by the Order of the Servants of Mary together with the adjacent church.
The Risorgimento Museum illustrates the period of Italian history between 1821 and WWI, known as Risorgimento. Some of them are particularly noteworthy, namely the flag of the "Carbonari", gift of the Province, the flags of the National Guard and of the XIIth battalion, as well as the relics of Garibaldi and Mazzini. Arms of different periods and from different countries are also on exhibition.
The smallest theatre in the world, as certified by the 1997 Guinness Book of Records. Seventy square meters in all. Just enough room for 95 people ��" 65 in the stalls and 30 in the two rows of the dress circle.

For nearly a century, the Teatrino di Vetriano  regularly staged plays and shows put up by the locals, and attracted audiences from the whole area. Then it started to decline and decay, and in 1997 was donated to the Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano (FAI)

The building has since been restored.

Località Carraia -Vetriano - 55060 Pescaglia (LU)

Photo by DANIELA Pasquetti