History of Lucca

Lucca city was founded by Etruscans but it’s developing goes back to the Roman period. Many architecture and cultural elements show the Latin origin of Lucca: the Amphitheatre with its oval and closed shape, San Michele’s square with the Romanesque Church and the Forum, the perpendicular crossing streets (Via Fillungo-Cenami and Via San Paolino-Roma-Santa Croce) in the historical center of Lucca that evidence the settling of the Romans, the surrounding walls to protect the inside town.

Around year 400 A.D. Lucca was occupied by the Gothsand Byzantines becoming the capital of the Longobard’s Reign. Lucca became an important stage for pilgrims travelling from Rome to Canterbury following the Via Francigena. They could stop and visit the Cathedral of San Martino where therewas and still is the relic of Christ’s image.

After the 8th century the city was conquered by Carlo Magno and the Carolingian Empire becoming an important textile production center famous in all Europe, due to the increase of commerce and especially the production of prestigious silk material.

During the 14th century Lucca represented one of Italian’s most important towns of the middle ages, thanks to a noble Ghibelline called Castruccio Castracani from the family of the Antelminelli who defended the town from the expanding of the Florentines. Then Lucca had a period of anarchy under the Visconti and dictatorship by Giovanni Dell’Angelo, Doge of Pisa’s Republic.

Only in year 1370 A.D. the Emperor Carlo IV released Lucca and established a Republican government, concentrating the economical power of the town on the commerce of silk in Europe.

The town had a short period of lordship with Paolo Guinigi and remained an independent Republic up till 1799 A.D. after which was taken over by the Austrians.

The Principality of Lucca and Piombino was born in 1805 andled by Elisa Bonaparte. Lucca became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1847 and was admitted to the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1860.

Lucca and it’s province can be divided in 5 main areas:

  • Lucca Area;
  • Montecarlo;
  • Garfagnana;
  • Serchio River Valley;
  • Versilia Coast.

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