Lucca is a city in Tuscany, northern central Italy, situated on the river Serchio. It was founded by the Etruscans (it is possible to find traces, there, of a pre/existing Ligurian settlement) and became a Roman colony in 180 b.C. In 1160 it gained a status of independent republic maintaining it for almost 500 years. In 1805 it was taken over by Napoleon. After 1815 it became a Bourbon-Parma Duchy, then part of Tuscany in 1847 and finally part of Italian State.
Unusual for cities in the region, the walls around the old town were retained intact as the city expanded and modernized. As the wide walls lost their military importance, they became a pedestrian promenade ringing the old town although they were used for a number
The city of Lucca, old town
of years in the 20th century for racing cars. They are still fully intact today; each of the four principal sides is lined with a different tree species.
There are many richly built medieval basilica-form churches in Lucca with rich arcaded façades and campaniles, a few as old as the 8th century. Some of the most important sights are: Piazza Anfiteatro, St. Martin’s Cathedral, Basilica of San Frediano, Piazza San Michele and a botanical garden dating back to 1820.
Lucca’s ramparts protect many reminders of city’s long and rich history. The magnificent city walls are ideal for taking a stroll or riding a bike offering a spectacular view of the city with its piazzas, medieval buildings and churches. Apart from incredible architecture, visitors can enjoy in many antique and craft markets locally, or tasting Lucca’s traditional dishes, as the region of Lucca is also well known for the excellent olive oil and the large range of wines producted.