Lucca, Italy

If you love walled-in, medieval towns with breathtaking architecture, then add Lucca to your traveling plans while in Italy. You will marvel at ornate marble facades while standing in quaint city squares.

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1 Porta San Pietro Wall Entrance in Lucca, Italy

A huge, Renaissance wall surrounds Lucca, Italy, and this is one of several entrances. Called Porta San Pietro, it was built on the south side of town in the mid-16th century by Alessandro Resta. Above the arch is an emblem of St. Peter flanked by two lion statues. In the pediment is the word “Libertas.” It promises a delightful, historic visit ahead that dates back to an ancient Roman colony.

Piazzale Umberto I 55100 Lucca LU, Italy
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2 Duomo di San Martino and Bell Tower in Lucca, Italy

The first stone for the Lucca Cathedral was laid in 1063 and dedicated to St. Martin when it was finished seven years later. The five-story bell tower, called a campanile in Italian, was part of that original construction. The western façade for the Duomo di San Martino Roman Catholic church was built in the early 13th century.

Via Duomo, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy
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3 Duomo di San Martino Façade Detail in Lucca, Italy

This detail of the Duomo di San Martino’s white and green marble façade displays the cathedral’s beauty. If you look closely, you’ll notice that every column is unique. Legend has it that before it was built in the early 13th century, a contest was held to determine the column design to use over the western entrance. Apparently, the judges liked every entry so they used them all.

Via Duomo, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy
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4 Duomo di San Martino Bas-relief Sculpture in Lucca, Italy

This white marble, bas-relief sculpture is one of three inside the portico of Duomo di San Martino in Lucca, Italy. Surrounded by the pink, left tympanum, it depicts the “Deposition from the Cross.” Below it is another work by sculpture Nicola Pisano called “Annunciation, Nativity and Adoration of the Magi.” These are just two of several superb artworks that grace the façade of the Lucca Cathedral.

Via Duomo, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy
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5 Flag Bearers and Musicians Parade in Lucca, Italy

One of several delights while traveling is the unexpected. After entering the walled-in city of Lucca, Italy, we were greeted by this parade of Contrada Sant’Anna in Piaggria. This group of about 50 flag bearers and musicians, averaging in age from eight to mid-twenties, recreate the pageants of the Middle Ages. They were voted Italian champions in 2013.

Piazza Napoleone 1, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy
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6 San Michele in Foro Western Façade in Lucca, Italy

This side view of the western façade of San Michele in Foro Catholic church provides a sense of its Pisan Romanesque architecture. Notice how narrow the top four stories are. This series of decorative arches and columns are called a blind arcade. Below that is a band decorated with marble shapes and sculptures of creatures. And flanking the central entrance with its rose window are Corinthian columns and arches with a diamond shape carved in each.

Piazza San Michele 1, 55100 Lucca, Province of Lucca, Italy
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7 San Michele in Foro Façade Detail in Lucca, Italy

High on top of the San Michele in Foro sits a 13 foot sculpture of the Archangel Michael. This Roman Catholic basilica in Lucca, Italy was dedicated to him when it was commissioned to be rebuilt in the late 11th century by Pope Alexander II. The original structure was a Roman forum dating back to the late 8th century. This exquisite marble façade was added during the 12th century.

Piazza San Michele 1, 55100 Lucca, Province of Lucca, Italy
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8 Clock on Pretorio Palace in Lucca, Italy

This wonderful clock graces the top of a two-story building called the Pretorio Palace. It was built overlooking the Piazza San Michele in the late 15th century in Lucca, Italy. Designed by architect Matteo Civitali, this Renaissance building originally served the city council but now it houses the Magistrate’s court.

Piazza San Michele, 45, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy
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9 San Michele in Foro Cross and Silhouette in Lucca, Italy

Many of the churches is Western Europe are dimly lit which makes hand-held photography a challenge. But sometimes that lighting has a dramatic effect, like this silhouette from the wooden cross called “Crucifix with the Virgin and St. John.” It was painted for the apse of San Michele in Foro during the late 12th century.

Piazza San Michele 1, 55100 Lucca, Province of Lucca, Italy
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10 Narrow Cobblestone Street in Lucca, Italy

Lucca, Italy, was founded by the Etruscan civilization hundreds of years before Christ, but it was the Romans who gave it the rectangular street plan that has remained since 180 B.C. The thick defensive walls around this Tuscany town were added in the 16th century. So, strolling along these narrow, cobblestone streets allows you to walk through Medieval and Renaissance history.

Via Degli Angeli, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy
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11 San Frediano Church and Bell Tower in Lucca, Italy

An Irish bishop from Lucca, Italy, named Fridianus or Frediano, built a church on this spot in honor of St. Vincent as part of his missionary efforts in the 6th century. When he died, it became the San Frediano Church in his honor. The current Romanesque basilica made from white limestone was built around 1147. Additions occurred in the 16th century and it was renovated in the mid-19th century.

Piazza S. Frediano, 16, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy
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12 San Frediano Church Byzantine Mosaic in Lucca, Italy

This gold leaf Byzantine mosaic on the front of the San Frediano Church deserves a close up. Called the “Ascension of Christ the Saviour,” it was designed by Berlinghiero Berlinghieri in the 13th century. The angels greet the Lord into heaven with images of the Twelve Apostles below Him. It comes alive with beauty in the direct sunlight.

Piazza S. Frediano, 16, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy
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