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CITY GUIDE OF
LUCCA
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LUCCA
“The city is in the best position I have ever
seen”, wrote Michel de Montaigne in 1581. “It
is surrounded for two leagues by a magnificent
plain, and beyond that by beautiful mountains
and hills where most have summer residences”.
A jewel in Tuscany’s crown, Lucca stands in a
sunny and fertile valley, where one of the main
rivers of the region flows, the Serchio. Known
for its artistic beauty and striking surroundings,
the city has much to offer its numerous visitors:
quiet walks between its renowned city walls,
various artistic and cultural events, from the
world-famous Comics & Games to the Summer
Festival, and Lucca Digital Photo Fest. The
historical centre, with its narrow houses, numerous squares and its “hundred churches”, is
one of the best preserved in Italy, testifying to a
past full of history, tradition and culture.
Lucca boasts a long history, beginning in 180
BC, when it was declared a Roman colony, following a period as a Ligurian, and then as an
Etruscan settlement. After the fall of the Roman
Empire and the city’s conquest by the Goths, in
the 6th century it was made the capital of the
Lombard Duchy of Tuscany. When the latter
collapsed, the city established itself as a free
commune, and subsequently, as the power of
the new merchant class increased, as a podesteria (a city state governed by an elected
magistrate). During this time the city took on a
leading role in Europe for commerce, due to the
development of the silk industry, to a very active banking trade, and to its privileged position
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LATHE
CITTÀCITY
ABOUT
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as one of the main stopping places for pilgrims
travelling along the Via Francigena. Involved in
the wars between Pisa and Florence, and between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, it became
a republic in 1430. This period of independence ended, however, in 1805, when Napoleon
set up the Principality of Lucca and Piombino,
which he assigned to his sister Elisa and her
husband. Following the Vienna Congress and
the Restoration, though, the Duchy of Lucca
was created. It was assigned to the Bourbons
of Parma and, after becoming part of the Grand
Duchy of Tuscany, it was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1860. These feudal families are
mentioned in the Divine Comedy, by Dante
Alighieri, who spent many years in Lucca during his exile.
Lucca is one of those typical mediaeval towns
of Tuscany whose original and distinctive features have remained mostly intact until today.
A closer look, however, reveals that many of
the palaces and towers in the historical centre
have been variously altered and modernized
over the centuries, giving them a new look.
Nonetheless, the real appeal of the buildings,
churches and structures of this city lies in the
perfect sequence of styles: from Roman to
Gothic, from Romanesque to Baroque, to Neoclassical. With its characteristic Clock Tower
and imposing Guinigi Tower rising above its
rooftops, Lucca is a dynamic city, but also a
haven of peace and quiet. Far from a hectic,
stressful experience, a visit to the centre of the
city means a calm stroll through its typical narrow streets, a cycle ride along the surrounding
city wall, an evening in one of its many taverns
tasting local dishes, and absorbing the atmosphere of this splendid old town, guarded and
protected by its imposing walls. Despite its
modest size, there is a lot to discover in Lucca!
© Lucarelli
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ABOUT THE CITY
LUCCA
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TRANSPORTS
GETTING AROUND LUCCA
BY BICYCLE
Lucca is a small city, so the best way to get
around is definitely by bicycle. The following
information will be useful: at the Lorenzini, Carducci and Palatucci car parks a bicycle hire service operates; the daily tariff of 8 euros is particularly good value. Another option available to
tourists and others is hiring an electric bicycle.
There is no doubt that this type of transport
makes cycling round the town “in the Tuscan
sun” a lot easier.
ON FOOT
Lucca is a city on a human scale. The centre
is enclosed inside its walls and is almost completely closed to traffic. Its small size and extensive pedestrian areas make it an ideal place
for walking around.
TAXI
Getting around by taxi is undoubtedly more expensive than taking a bus. But it is the most
convenient option if you arrive at the station
with suitcases and don’t feel like walking, or
possibly standing in a bus.
Consorzio Tassisti Lucchesi (Lucca Taxi-Drivers’ Consortium):
Radio Taxi Tel. +39 0583/333434.
Below are some of the taxi ranks, with the telephone number for each:
P.le Verdi: +39 0583/581305
P.za S.Maria: +39 0583/494190
P.za Ricasoli (Stazione): +39 0583/494989
Via Barbantini 617: +39 0583/950623
Via Vittorio Emanuele 2: +39 0583/316041
Piazza Napoleone: +39 0583/316041
Via C. Battisti, 5: +39 0583/955200
FROM THE AIRPORT
Lucca is not large enough to have its own airport. However it is close enough to Pisa and
Florence to make it convenient to fly to either of
these airports. Once you have landed, it is easy
to reach Lucca by train.
© Andrea Antoni
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TRANSPORTS
LUCCA
OFFICIAL WEBSITES FOR THE CITY
For general information, see:
www.comune.lucca.it
or
www.luccatourist.it
TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICE
Centro di Accoglienza Turistica
Piazzale Verdi - Vecchia Porta San Donato Tel.
+39 0583/ 583150 - 442944 [email protected]
it
Open from 1 October to 31 March from 9.00 to
17.00; and from 1 Aapril to 30 September from
9.00 to 19.00.
USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS
Carabinieri (Military police)
Polizia di Stato (State police)
Fire Brigade
Ambulance
Travel information (CCISS)
112
113
115
118
1518
CITY PASS
The Lucca Card, made by Media Farm and
Lucca City Council, allows visitors to use a
range of services at a reduced price. The Lucca
Card is distributed in two versions:
one day - use of a bicycle for 1 hour; admission
to the Guinigi Tower, the Botannical Garden,
the Cathedral Museum and the Comics Museum. € 7,50.
two day – use of a bicycle for two hours; admission to the Guinigi Tower, the Botanical
Garden, the Cathedral Museum, the Comics
Museum, the Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto and to
St. John’s Church. € 12.
CLIMATE
Due to its proximity to the sea, Lucca has a mild
climate. Summers, between 23 and 26° C, are
usually hot and humid, especially inland, where
there are no sea breezes and the heat haze
typical of this time of year is much more frequent. Rainfall usually occurs in the Winter
months, when average temperatures are between 4 and 7°C and there are rare snowfalls.
The best periods to visit Lucca are Spring and
Autumn.
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INFORMATION
USEFUL INFORMATION
LUCCA
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POINTS OF INTEREST
TiP (tourist informations in pills)
churches.........................................pag10
buildings - squares/streets.............pag14
museums - structures.....................pag18
villas...............................................pag22
chiese...................................................pag1
palazzi..................................................pag5
musei....................................................pag9
monumenti e strutture..........................pag13
teatri.....................................................pag21
varie......................................................pag23
© Espresso Marco
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St. Alexander’s Church
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St. Michael’s Church
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St. Fridianus’ Church
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Church of St. John and St. Reparata
Piazza Sant’Alessandro, 15 - Lucca
Built around the middle of the 11th century, it is the only church
in Lucca from this period that has not undergone substantial
transformation or changes. The building is therefore extremely
interesting, as it has managed to preserve its typical local features, as distinct from the architectural styles of Lombardy and
Pisa. It has thus become the most intact and pure example of
early Romanesque architecture in Lucca. Both the interior and
exterior are built in an equally simple style, where harmony and
proportion prevail.
Piazza San Michele, 7 - Lucca
Rennovated towards 1070 at the wish of Pope Alexander II, the
church has the shape of a Latin cross, divided into a nave and
two aisles. The transept and apse are semi-circular, while the
whole structure is covered by a barrel-vaulted ceiling with lunettes. The façade is decorated with a large marble statue of St.
Michael the Archangel. The bell tower was truncated by Giovanni
dell’Agnello, Doge of Pisa, because the sound of its bells could
be heard as far as Pisa, a sign of the city’s superiority.
Piazza San Frediano - Lucca
First built between 560 and 588 by the bishop St. Fridianus, and
rebuilt in 1112, the church is one of the oldest in Lucca. Despite
various alterations over the centuries, the church’s mediaeval
style is still intact today. From the 14th century, the walls, columns and chapels were covered in frescoes. In particular, the
Chapel of the Cross was decorated with religious themes by
Amico Aspertini.
Piazza San Giovanni - Lucca
Erected in the 5th century on the site of a Roman settlement, it
was initially the see of the diocesan bishops. At the beginning of
the 19th century, the church was designated to be an archive of
the old republic by the Napoleonic government, and was completely stripped of its furnishings. In 1828, however, it was given
back to the church for worship. A combination of neo-classicism
and the new elements typical of Lombard architecture can be
found both in its structure and decorations.
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CHURCHES
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Church of St. Mary Foris Portam
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Church of St. Peter Somaldi
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St. Martin’s Cathedral
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Church of St. Paul and St. Donato
Piazza Santa Maria Forisportam 14 - Lucca
Completed in the 12th century, the church has a nave and two
aisles, with a transept and apse. On the façade are three portals, the architraves of which are decorated with classical motifs, while the second row of the façade shows the mastery of
Guidetto’s school of sculpture. Inside are mediaeval colonnades
with capitals, which have survived the different alterations of the
16th century, when a number of new works of art were installed,
in particular two by Guercino.
Piazza San Pietro Somaldi - Lucca
Founded in the 8th century by Summal and donated by King Astolfo to the painter Auriperto, the church was rebuilt at the end
of the 12th century. Divided into a nave and two aisles by sandstone columns, it has a central portal with an architrave above
bearing the words “La consegna delle chiavi a Pietro” (Handing
of the keys to Peter), which can be ascribed to Bigarelli from
Como. Apart from two paintings, the only ones left from the 14th
and 15th century, the fittings consist of 17th-century paintings
and a few 19th-century works.
Piazza San Martino - Lucca
Founded in the tradition of St. Fridianus in the 6th century, it
was rebuilt by Anselmo da Baggio, bishop of the city, in 1060,
then altered between the 12th and 13th centuries. The façade,
inspired by that of Pisa Cathedral, was embellished with its own
architectural features, drawn from the Romanesque style of Lucca, by Guidetto da Como in 1204. The interior, with a nave and
two aisles, has many valuable works of art, including “The Last
Supper” by Tintoretto.
Via San Paolino, 52-60 - Lucca
Baccio da Montelupo began construction in 1515, and Bertolani
da Brancoli finished it in 1536. It is the only completely Renaissance church in the city. The interior is made of stone with a
barrel-vaulted ceiling. The marble choir stalls near the transept the work of Nicolao and Vencenzo Civitali - are particularly beautiful. The church still has its original furnishings today, including
paintings and sculptures.
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CHURCHES
LUCCA
St. Gemma’s Sanctuary
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Church of St. Justus
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St. Augustine’s Church
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St. Christopher’s Church
Via di Tiglio, 271 - Lucca
Built in 1935 by the architect Italo Baccelli, today this convent
dedicated to St. Gemma Galgani houses the community of Passionist Nuns. It was the saint herself who had the monastery
built, after she had a vision of Christ urging her to desire it in one
of her ecstasies. Inside the monastery are works by Conti and
Gismondi, as well as the remains of the saint, kept under the
main altar in an urn made by the sculptor Nagni.
Piazza San Giusto - Lucca
Constructed in the second half of the 12th century on the site of
a pre-existent building, the interior of the church was renovated
in Baroque style by Padredio in the 17th century. The façade,
decorated with thick stripes of white, has a richly ornate central
door, a trait of the Guidetto school. The lunette is adorned with a
fresco depicting the Virgin and Child and Saints.
Piazza Sant’Agostino, 7 - Lucca
Rebuilt over an Augustine monastery and over the church of
San Salvatore in Muro in the 14th century, today the remains of
the 2nd-century Roman Theatre can still be admired at the base
of the bell tower. For many years the church was the subject
of a legend. The trap-door inside was thought to be one of the
mouths of hell. Towards the end of the 18th century, before the
trap-door was closed, some people even suggested diverting the
overflowing waters of the Serchio into it.
Via Fillungo, 25 - Lucca
Situated in the centre of Lucca and attested in the 11th century,
it was rebuilt around the middle of the 12th century. It is a church
with a nave and two aisles on columns with an apse. The façade is decorated with some very fine sculpture-work. The rest
of the building is in sandstone ashlar and brick masonry. It is
considered an emblem of the influence of Pisa architecture on
the Lucca area. An epigraph inside has also contributed towards
this opinion.
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CHURCHES
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CHURCHES
LUCCA
Bertolli Palace
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Lily Theatre
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The Duke’s Palace
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Mansi Palace
Viale Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 287 - Lucca
Home to the “Sandro Pertini” Professional Institute of Tourism today, the palace was built between 1910 and 1912 on land owned
by the company Francesco Bertolli, producers and sellers of oil
in Lucca. Two other palaces belonging to the Bertolli family were
also built on the same site: one is the premises of the Financial
Police today, while the other, the Lazzareschi Lazzeroni palace,
is now the main police station.
Piazza Napoleone 34 - Lucca
A historic theatre dating from the 17th century named after the
Bourbon dynasty, responsible for its reconstruction in the 19th
century, whose coat of arms bore golden lilies. Every year the
theatre holds a season of opera, theatre, dance and symphony
music. Among other activities, it also organizes workshops for
schools, putting on shows for the Young People’s Theatre.
Via Vittorio Veneto, 32 - Lucca
Renovated in 1578 by Bartolomeo Ammannati, today the main
halls house the Provincial Council and the Prefecture. At the top
of Nottolini’s grand stairway is the Statue Gallery, decorated with
stuccoes and marble statues. In the Council Hall you can see
the fresco of the Liberty of Lucca by Testa. In the centre of the
garden stands a statue of Francesco Carrara, the criminal lawyer
from Lucca, by Augusto Passaglia.
Via Gallitassi 43 - Lucca
Palazzo Mansi, one of the most luxurious mansions of the city, is
a typical example of Domus Lucchese. Above the main entrance
we can still see the stone coat of arms of the family. It rises in
the city center and takes its name from the family who lived until
1957. The palace is a magnificent mansion, home of the National
Gallery since 1977,as well as a permanent exhibition of works by
painters of Lucca and a collection of fine fabrics.
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BUILDINGS
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Pfanner Palace
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Villa Guinigi
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Villa Bottini, Formerly Buonvisi al Giardino
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Massoni Palace
Via San Sebastiano 33 - Lucca
Built in the second half of the 17th century, in 1860 the palace
was bought by Felice Pfanner, who turned it into a beer factory,
which it remained until 1929. Inside the estate is a majestic garden, divided into four grassy areas. In the centre of these is an
octagonal pool, decorated with four statues representing the elements. Due to its architecture and large garden, it has been
used by many film directors to represent a “palace of the papal
nobility”.
Via della Quarquonia, 2-12 - Lucca
Built from 1413 by Paolo Guinigi, Signore of Lucca, the villa was
once surrounded by a large garden. In 1430 the building came
into the possession of the Republic of Lucca and today it is home
to the National Museum. Its architecture reflects the purpose for
which it was designed, as a stately home. Records show that
construction work continued with decorations and embellishments until the end of the Guinigi dominion. A number of terracotta statues are exhibited in the present-day garden.
Via Elisa, 1-13 - Lucca
Villa Bottini is one of the most beautiful villas in the area. It was
built towards the mid-16th century outside the circular mediaeval
walls, in an area of market gardens. The building is very important historically, because its building plan served as a model for
the construction of others in the area. What is more, Sanminiati’s
conception of the “ideal villa” seems to have been based on its
shape. The frescoes inside by Salimbeni were begun in 1593.
Via dell’Angelo Custode, 22 - Lucca
Built in 1668 for Giovanni Controni, the palace is famous especially for the 17th-century design of its private garden. The garden has 4 flowerbeds and low walls decorated in grotesque style,
with cobblestone mosaics, brickwork and numerous grotesque
marble masks of fine craftsmanship. Inside the garden, you can
also admire a fountain composed of a marble statue of a female
figure, two eagles and a rectangular pool bearing a coat of arms,
all supported by two statues of dogs.
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BUILDINGS
LUCCA
Piazza dell’Anfiteatro
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Via Fillungo
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Piazza San Michele
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Piazza Napoleone
Piazza dell’Anfiteatro - Lucca
Built in the Mediaeval era upon the remains of the ancient Roman amphitheatre, the reason for its closed elliptic shape, it was
initially intended as a place for civic meetings. Subsequently, it
was filled with buildings, but only in the 19th century was it decided to restore it to its original plan, thanks to the architect Nottolini. Access to the square is through 4 arched gates, although
only one – the lowest – is an exact replica of one of the original
entrances.
Via Fillungo - Lucca
The street takes its name from Fillongo Castle in Garfagnana,
where the Falabrina family, which owned the houses in this
street, had feudal rights. Today it is the busiest and liveliest
street in the city and is therefore considered the “good salon”
of Lucca. Winding and uneven, it has a great many stores and
small old shops opening onto it.
Piazza San Michele - Lucca
Corresponding to the ancient forum of the city in Roman times,
today the square is surrounded by mediaeval buildings, easily
identified by their round arches and mullioned windows. There
are also imposing palaces such as the Palazzo Giglio and the
Palazzo Pretorio, as well as St. Michael’s Church. In 1863, a
statue by the sculptor Ulisse Cambi in honour of Francesco Burlamacchi was placed in the centre of the square.
Piazza Napoleone - Lucca
Built in 1806 by the architects Lazzarini and Bienimé at the request of Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, the square expanded razing
every type of building to the ground, including the Church of St.
Peter the Great. The idea was to make the Duke’s Palace look
more important and to place an enormous statue of Napoleon in
the centre. After the Vienna congress, however, the whole project evaporated. Today, in fact, there is a monument by Bartolini
in honour of Maria Luisa in the centre of the square.
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SQUARES/STREETS
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BUILDINGS / SQUARES
LUCCA
Giacomo Puccini Birthplace Museum
Corte San Lorenzo 4-8 - Lucca
Opened in 1979, the museum contains objects belonging to the
musician, in particular the piano on which he composed Turandot. Also on view are scores in Puccini’s own handwriting of
works composed in his youth, such as the Mass for 4 voices of
1880 and the Capriccio Sinfonico of 1883, drafts, letters, photos
and a gallery of family paintings.
From April to October: 10.00 - 18.00; from November to March: 11.00 - 17.00. Close
Tuesday. Entry fee € 7, reduced fare € 5.
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Museum of Comics and Images
Piazza San Romano 1-4 - Lucca
Conceived in 2008 with the aim of combining the imaginary,
the modern and the real, the museum is situated in the former
Lorenzini barracks. Inside it houses original works (from Signor
Bonaventura di Tofano to period comics such as Frugolino, from
Tex and Diabolik to the world of Disney) for enthusiasts and the
inquisitive alike. The exhibition is equipped with information devices, giving detailed explanations of the techniques used, and
with an extensive catalogue of “virtual” illustrations.
Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 to 18.00. Entry fee € 4, reduced fare € 3.
3
The Resurgence Museum
Via Vittorio Veneto, 32 - Lucca
Situated in a number of halls of the Duke’s Palace, the museum
illustrates the period of Italian history from 1821 to the First World
War through numerous exhibits. It houses many rare, antique
items, such as the flag of the Carbonari from 1821, donated by
the Provincial Council, the flags of the National Guard and of the
12th battalion, and many mementos of the Resurgence leaders
Garibaldi and Mazzini and their followers. There are also weapons from different periods and countries.
Access by appointment. Free admission.
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Cathedral Museum
Via del Duomo 2 - Lucca
Situated in a building complex composed of a 13th-century tower
house, a 16th-century church and a main building dating from
the 14th century, it was inaugurated in 1922. Since 1992 it has
housed the works of art belonging to St. Martin’s Cathedral.
The collection includes statues, gravestone items, gold, sacred
paraments, candlesticks and candelabra, paintings and missals.
Among the most important are the “Pisans’ Cross” by Vincenzo
di Michele and the “Holy Face” crucifix. 10 March-2 November: every day
10.00-18.00; 3 November-9 March: Monday-Friday 10.00-14.00.
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MUSEUMS
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Villa Guinigi National Museum
Via della Quarquonia 2-12 - Lucca
It has been a national museum since 1968 and today is situated in one of the villas built by Paolo Guinigi, Signore of Lucca.
Besides an interesting archaeological section with prehistoric
findings, the collection comprises Etruscan and Roman remains
and objects documenting the history and art of the city. Among
the most important works are: “Painted Cross” by Berlinghiero,
Civitali’s “Pietà”, and “Virgin and Child with Saints” by Aspertini.
Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 8.30 to 19.30. Entry fee € 4, reduced fare € 2.
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Mansi Palace National Gallery
Via Gallitassi, 29-43 - Lucca
Set up in 1977 with works donated by Grand Duke Leopold II of
Habsburg-Lothringen, today the gallery is situated in one of the
most sumptuous and elegant palaces of the city. Besides a significant collection of paintings ranging from the 14th to the 18th
centuries by important artists (Bronzino, Tintoretto, Guido Reni),
the gallery also holds a collection of paintings by Lucca artists
and a collection of fabrics, paraments and furnishings from the
18th to the 20th centuries.
Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 8.30 to 19.30. Entry fee € 4, reduced fare € 2.
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Historical Museum of Liberation
Via Sant’Andrea, 42-58 - Lucca
Founded in 1988 by a group of World War II veterans, today
the museum is housed in a number of halls inside Guinigi Palace. In one of these, there are urns containing earth from military
graveyards and from places where Nazist slaughters took place
in Italy. The purpose of the museum is to pay homage to those
citizens of Lucca who contributed towards the liberation of the
province of Lucca from Nazi occupation.
Open Wednesday and
Saturday from 15.00 to 18.00; third Sunday of the month from 10.00. Free admission.
8
P. Cresci Museum for Italian Emigration
Via Vittorio Emanuele II 20 - Lucca
The Museum is housed in the civic part of the Duke’s Palace and
is named after the photographer and keen collector from Florence Paolo Cresci. It preserves and exhibits material documenting emigration from Italy since Unification. Through handwritten
letters, photographs, passports and other public and private
documents, it recounts the most important stages and the most
common experiences of Italian migration.
1 October - 30 April: 9.30 - 12.30; 14.30 - 17.30. 1 May - 30 September: 10.00 - 12.30;
15.00 - 18.30. Close Monday.
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MUSEUMS
LUCCA
Clock Tower
10
Botannical Garden
11
Walls
12
Guinigi Tower
Via Fillungo 43 - Lucca
Built around the 13th century, with a height of about 50 metres
it is the highest tower in the city. The main feature of the tower
is its clock, regulated by a mechanism from 1754, by Simon of
Geneva. The clock-face was remade at the time with Roman
numerals, a single, shaped hand and a star in the middle. You
can reach the top by an interior wooden stair of 207 steps, still
completely intact.
Via del Giardino Botanico, 14 - Lucca
Built in 1820 at the instigation of Maria Luisa of Bourbon, today
the garden is divided into two areas. The first contains the arboretum, the mound and the lake, while the second holds the
school of botany and the glasshouses. Inside the garden you
will also find the “Cesari Bianchi” botanical museum, where historical herbal books and various interesting documents are kept.
The offices and teaching laboratory are situated in the small barracks, called Casermetta, on the city walls.
Viale delle Mura Urbane - Lucca
Built from the first half of the 16th century to the mid-16th century, the walls are a symbol of the city, recognized around the
world for their artistic beauty and historical value. Over 4 km long,
they form a large and picturesque park around the city. No longer
used for defence purposes, they were converted for civil use as a
promenade for the city’s inhabitants, who still use it today, along
with the tourists, for walks.
Via Sant’Andrea, 40 - Lucca
Measuring 44.5 metres in height, it has a hanging garden on the
top, composed of five centuries-old holm oaks. From here you
can see the historical centre and the hills of Sienna. The Tower
is part of an imposing construction built by the Guinigi family,
who were powerful merchants from Lucca. It is the only vestige
of the over 250 towers that graced the city in Mediaeval times.
The garden can be reached by climbing 230 steps, and there is
a charge for admission.
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STRUCTURES
9
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21
MUSEUMS / STRUCTURES
LUCCA
Villa Ducloz
2
Shootinglodge of Charles L. of Bourbon
3
Villa Grabau
4
Villa Oliva
Via Matteo Civitali, 258 - Lucca
The complex is one of the most important examples of art nouveau architecture still standing in the city of Lucca. Of considerable size, the building has a rectangular plan and two floors,
besides the attic and semi-basement. The garden has many different architectural features, all of considerable value. Gaetano
Orzali designed the villa in 1903 for Luigi Ducloz. In 1911 the
crowning in multi-coloured majolica was extended to the lateral
facades as well.
Via del Cimitero Dodicesima, 513 - Lucca
It was the famous Lorenzo Nottolini who designed the building
in 18th-century style around the mid-19th century. On two floors,
the lodge looks onto a belvedere terrace and its shape was designed with the surrounding scenery in mind. The sober lines of
the central part of the building are relieved by the chiaroscuro effect of the portico, closed at each end by two curved staircases,
and by the Rococo crowning of the façade, in keeping with the
stairs.
Via di Matraia, 390 - Lucca
The villa lies between the end of the plain and the surrounding hills, in a picturesque position at the end of a long, imposing
driveway behind grand entrance gates. Despite the 19th-century
alterations, its structure has kept the harmonious and simple
forms characteristic of Renaissance villas in Lucca. Its main façade faces the valley. It was built in the second half of the 16th
century.
Via delle Ville 2035 - Lucca
The villa is an important mannerist work of Lucca architecture
and possesses a number of features that distinguish it from other
villas. The rear façade, for example, has a large, imposing portico. The visual effect of the grand arches of this portico and the
use of alternated ashlar on the edges make this villa one of the
most prominent examples of the influence of Florentine architecture. Lastly, the two gates are worth a close look.
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VILLAS
1
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VILLAS
LUCCA
23
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TRIP ADVICE
chiese...................................................pag1
palazzi..................................................pag5
musei....................................................pag9
monumenti e strutture..........................pag13
teatri.....................................................pag21
varie......................................................pag23
© Photographer Mia
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Nottolini Aqueduct
SP26 - Capannori
The Nottolini aqueduct was built in the 19th century at the wish
of Maria Luisa of Bourbon. Its purpose was to provide Lucca with
water. It was designed by Lorenzo Nottolini and constructed between 1823 and 1851, the year the architect died. This imposing
structure is 3250 metres long and had 459 brick arches. It is a
“Roman”-style aqueduct. It begins in the city of Lucca and ends
in the town of Capannori.
Villa Mansi
Via delle Selvette, 261b - Capannori
Villa Cenami, later Mansi, is one of the highest expressions of
17th-century architecture in Lucca. The building is a solid block,
but the façade is made more interesting by the fact that the central part, which is higher, is set slightly back compared to the
two lateral parts of the building. Over 40 species of trees can
be found today in the botanical garden. The history of the Villa
is well documented, and it is possible to reconstruct the main
building stages.
Villa Reale di Marlia
Via Fraga Alta, 1 - Capannori
This is an extremely interesting construction, because two important periods in the architecture of Lucca villas are visible in layers. Part of the park still has its original 17th-century layout. The
water theatre behind the palace is from the same period, while
the palace itself, in its present form, is a neoclassical work from
the period of the Napoleonic principality. Inside the park, you can
also visit the Villa del Vescovo, or Bishop’s Palace.
Villa Torrigiani
Via del Gomberaio, 1 - Capannori
One of the most interesting examples of 17th-century architecture in the Lucca Plain. Due to its elaborate and whimsical forms,
it can be considered one of the rare examples of Baroque among
the villas here. In its present form, it is the result of an alteration,
carried out before 1710 on a construction from the second half of
the 17th century. The architect behind the design for restructuring the façade was Torregiani, from Bologna. The park is quite
majestic.
26
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DAY TRIP
DAY TRIP TO CAPANNORI
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DAY TRIP TO VERSILIA AND BAGNI DI LUCCA
VERSILIA
Situated in the northwest of Tuscany, within the
province of Lucca, Versilia is an area named
after the river Versilia. The Riviera, which became an important holiday destination at the
start of the economic boom in Italy, between
the 1950s and 1970s, still consists largely of
tourist resorts. This is due especially to its immense sandy beach, wide spaces and a lively
social life. There are indeed a number of wellestablished nightclubs and discos in the area.
First-class facilities, a pleasant climate and
bathing resorts equipped with every comfort
are just some of the features that make this one
of the best parts of the Italian coast.
© PixelPlacebo
La Capannina
Viale della Repubblica, 16 - Forte dei Marmi
The area is actually very well known for its
nightlife, and some of the longest running establishments have been the set for cult films.
For this kind of amusement, the best areas are
around Viareggio, Pietrasanta and Forte dei
Marmi. It is in this last resort that we find one of
the best-known nightclubs of the whole peninsular: “La Capannina” disco.
La Capannina di Franceschi, commonly known as La
Capannina, is a historical nightclub in Forte dei Marmi. It became very famous in the 1960s and 1970s. It
opened in August 1929, when Achille Franceschi, a
local hotel proprietor, set up a shed on the beach that
had previously been used by a carpenter for keeping
his tools. He added some small tables, a bar for serving drinks and a gramophone. Today the club hosts
the most popular national and international artists.
© Amaniero
27
DAY TRIP
LUCCA
However, the seaside and the Carnival are not
the only attractions in Viareggio. The town is
also known for art, in particular its eclectic, art
nouveau and art deco architecture. It is also a
busy industrial and manufacturing centre, especially prominent in shipbuilding, for which it
has long been famous throughout the world. An
absolute must, especially for music lovers, is
a visit to Puccini’s Villa on the shores of Lake
Massaciuccoli, in the village of Torre del Lago.
It is here that the Puccini Festival organizes
events in honour of the composer every year.
But that is not all there is to Viareggio. Various
cultural and sports events and awards are held
here, in particular: the Viareggio Répaci Literary Prize, founded in 1929, and the Carnival
Cup World Tournament, founded in 1949. The
latter can be considered a world championship
for football clubs’ youth teams. Lastly, there is
the Gaber Festival, created in memory of Giorgio Gaber, in which leading artists from the Italian music scene take part (since 2004). The
town is also known as the birthplace of Marcello Lippi, who coached the Italian national football team when it won the World Cup in 2006.
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© Yehudaco
BAGNI DI LUCCA
Lucca also has an important and famous spa
in its province, the thermal baths of Bagni di
Lucca, just 25 km from the historical centre.
This splendid facility is set in an excellent position amid beautiful scenery on the hillside of the
Tuscan Apennines. For here the Lima Torrent
flows into the Serchio river, whose waters have
healing and beneficial properties. The thermal
springs at Bagni di Lucca have ancient roots.
They were already quite well known in Mediaeval times, but became famous throughout
Italy and the world after the French Revolution,
thanks to Elisa Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister,
who made it one of the main landmarks on the
social map of high society. Over the centuries,
illustrious figures such as Pascoli, Shelley,
Byron, Puccini and Henry James have stayed
here.
Bagni di Lucca
Piazza San Martino 11 - Bagni di Lucca
The facility is surrounded by the unique colours of the
delightful Tuscan landscape. The spa has remained
intact over time and is a particularly interesting example of an Italian spa. It consists of the Jean Varraud
and Casa Boccella thermal baths, and of the Centro
Ouida baths. The spa has two natural steam caves:
the Grotta Grande and the Grotta Paolina, the latter
named after another sister of Napoleon’s.
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DAY TRIP
The most important town in Versilia is Viareggio. Viareggio is a famous seaside tourist resort, also known for its much talked about Carnival, considered one of the most important in
Italy and even in Europe. The first time it was
held was in 1873, when floats carrying huge
allegorical figures made of papier-mâché, the
largest and most animated in the world, paraded along the seafront, the route still followed
today. The official “mask”, or make-believe
character, of Viareggio Carnival is Burlamacco,
invented in 1930 by Uberto Bonetti. Every year
this important event, admired for its spectacular
and ingenious floats, attracts citizens and visitors alike with its colourful costumes and practical jokes. The third parade of the 2011 Viareggio Carnival beat the record for attendance:
more than 325,000 people came. A source of
pride due to its ability to represent the artistic
and organizational skills of Italians, over the
years the Viareggio Carnival has become the
most spectacular festival in Italy. During the
event, each district holds its own local festivities at the same time.
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RIVER SERCHIO PARK AND THE LUCCHESIA VILLAS
One of the main characteristics of Lucca is that
the beauty of its territory does not finish outside
the city walls, but extends into the surrounding area. Here there are both landscapes and
artistic and cultural treasures worthy of interest. Tourists can admire the natural scenery of
the River Serchio Park, the sumptuous Villas
of Lucchesia, as well as numerous churches,
which still testify to the area’s rich history today.
There are numerous villas in the countryside
and the hills around the Lucca Plain and they
are of considerable architectural beauty. Those
situated in the town of Capannori are not to be
missed on any account: Villa Mansi, Villa Torrigiani and Villa Reale di Marlia. Almost all of the
villas of Lucchesia date from the 15th to the
19th centuries and were built by the wealthier
classes as summer residences. These prestigious homes, most of which are still privately
owned today and therefore not open to the public, are very similar in structure: large and luxuriant gardens, parks with lakes, fish ponds and
pools, grand halls, porticos, frescoes and statues. To see the villas, it is best to organize a
precise route, to ensure you find your way into
the tranquillity and elegance of these stately
homes, instead of roaming aimlessly. Lucca’s
surroundings certainly do not end with these
beautiful villas. Besides the attractions of artis-
tic and historical beauty, the Lucca Plain offers
a backdrop of tranquil natural scenery that can
be enjoyed by all. There are various parks inside the city walls and nearby, and besides being extremely important places for Lucca’s residents, they are also an attraction for tourists.
Not to be missed in the historical centre is the
picturesque promenade along the City Walls.
This area is a city park, intended for relaxation,
sports or just meeting friends.
Near the city is the River Serchio Park, a
large area surrounded by natural scenery and
wildlife. The River Serchio and its surrounding
area were part of a major land reclamation project in 1999. The intention was and still is to
salvage and enhance the river, a fundamental
part of Lucca’s landscape. With a combination of natural areas and specific facilities, the
park has something to offer locals and tourists
alike. There is no chance of anyone getting
bored here. You can enjoy walking, kayaking, canoeing along the river, bicycle or horse
rides, or you can just admire the beauty of the
landscape. And, as if that were not enough, the
park is also equipped with facilities for activities such as archery, skateboarding, five-a-side
football, bowling, and tracks for model car and
model airplane racing.
© Anacleto_FiftyDi
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SERCHIO PARK
LUCCA
SAN PAOLINO PALIO
The San Paolino Palio is a traditional event of
mediaeval origin, held every year on the evening of 12 July in Piazza San Martino. Begun in
honour of the city’s patron saint and first bishop
of Lucca, St. Paolino, the festival is commonly
known as “the crossbow palio”. This is on account of the crossbow competition, involving
the best crossbowmen in the different districts
of the city, who compete according to the oldest
rules in Europe (1443). The practice goes far
back in the city’s history; there is evidence of
the use of the crossbow from 1169, when, besieged by constant attacks from the Republic of
Pisa, the city asked the Republic of Genoa for
the assistance of a company of crossbowmen.
During the palio, each crossbowman in turn
has to try and hit the target, a wooden cylinder
50 cm long and 12 cm in diameter known as a
brocca, or jug, from a distance of 36 metres.
The practice gave rise to the Italian verb imbroccare, meaning “to hit a bull’s eye”. Each
crossbowman has a pellet for each of the two
rounds. At the end of the day the four competitors with the highest score are awarded a prize
by the Maestro d’Armi (master of arms) and the
jury. The one with the highest score of all wins
a solid silver neckchain, which he keeps until
the following year.
LUCCA DIGITAL PHOTO FEST
Established in 2005, Lucca Digital Photo Fest
is one of the most important events in the city,
drawing thousands of enthusiasts and tourists
from all over Italy and beyond every year. This
fascinating festival, dedicated to photography
and visual arts, is held between the end of November and mid-December in selected venues
within the historical centre. In these months, a
number of one-man photographic exhibitions
are set up in picturesque locations. There is
also a full programme of associated events.
Considered one of the most important Italian
festivals for photography, Lucca Digital Photo
Fest also provides the opportunity to take part
in workshops on different themes, where you
can meet, work and exchange ideas with the
most important photographers in the world.
30
© Zled81
SUMMER FESTIVAL
Since it was first held in 1998, the Summer Festival – an established musical event in the city
– draws a large number of people from all over
Italy every year in July. Throughout the whole
month you can attend a great many concerts
by Italian and international artists, staged in the
picturesque setting of the historical centre. The
stages mounted in Piazza Napoleone, Piazza
San Martino and Piazza dell’Anfiteatro have
seen the likes of Bob Dylan, James Brown,
Zucchero, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Elton
John, Ennio Morricone, Lionel Richie, Giorgia,
Jamiroquai, Renato Zero, Anastacia, Lenny
Kravitz, Simply Red, Laura Pausini, Amy Winehouse, Liza Minnelli, James Blunt, Blink 182,
Oasis, Michael Bublé, Eros Ramazzotti, Alicia
Keys, Ricky Martin, Elisa, as well as Fiorello,
Enrico Brignano and Roberto Benigni, with his
show “Tutto Dante”. The event has been so
popular in previous years that on several occasions the football stadium Porta Elisa and the
Stadio dei Pini in Viareggio had to be used as
venues.
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EVENTS
EVENTS
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CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR
Spending Christmas in this city is an absolutely
unique experience not to be missed. Lucca
is transformed at this time of year and offers
residents and tourists various attractions and
events. The area where it all happens is, of
course, the magnificent historical centre. The
local Christmas traditions take hold of the city,
filing it with decorations, lights and colours, creating a magical and welcoming atmosphere.
The ice-skating rink installed in Piazza Napoleone is now an enjoyable local tradition, and
always proves very popular. Besides the skating rink a stage is also installed in loco, offering
various events for evenings of entertainment,
performances and music. These are not the
only attractions in Piazza Napoleone though.
To children’s delight, the traditional “Belle
époque Toscana” merry-go-round is usually
installed here.
The City of Lucca hosts a number of important events at this time of year. One of these
is undoubtedly Capodanno in Piazza, or “New
Year in the Square”. Organized in the famous
Piazza Napoleone, free of charge and open to
everyone, the event obviously begins in the
early evening of New Year’s Eve. The purpose
is to see in the New Year with music, dancing
and other entertainment. The whole square is
transformed into a big discotheque, the ice rink
stays open all night; so getting bored is well
nigh impossible.
© Mirod
When midnight strikes in Italy, there is the traditional New Year toast of spumante, or sparkling
wine, offered free of charge near the stage.
In Lucca there is also a chance to see in the
New Year for a second time. For, 17 minutes,
58 seconds and 8 tenths of a second after the
“traditional” midnight hour is “Lucca midnight”.
This follows the movement of the sun through
the historical sundial on the Clock Tower in
via Fillungo. During this period the City Council organizes various traditional and folkloristic
events. These include the competition for the
most beautiful nativity scene, and the nativity
play, organized by the villages in the province.
Last but not least, is the awarding of the prize
for “Lucca citizen of the year”: in 2011 the
award was given for the eleventh time.
© Orland76
31
CHRISTMAS AND
NEW YEAR
LUCCA
Christmas in the city also means shopping. And
for Christmas shopping, what could be better
than the traditional Christmas markets. The
stalls are set up within the walls, in the historical
centre. This is an opportunity to buy handmade
crafts and local products. One of the most fascinating markets is the picturesque Mediaeval
Market, held in Piazza della Cittadella on the
10th, 11th, and 12th of December. The event
brings alive traditions and customs of a mediaeval Christmas. Another Christmas market
is the one held in Piazza San Michele, usually
at the beginning of the month. It has over 50
stalls, with handmade products, food and wine,
Christmas decorations, toys and sweets.
As for more traditional shopping, Lucca boasts
a great tradition in the trade, for which it is highly regarded. In the historical centre, the heart of
the city, where quality and good manners pre-
vail, there are many shops with a long history.
No one can say they have seen Lucca without
first going for a stroll along the elegant shopping streets of the city. The liveliest and busiest
street is undoubtedly Via Fillungo. Right in the
centre of the city, here you can find some very
old shops, as the attractive art nouveau shop
signs and windows show. Close to this street
are: Via Roma, Via Buia, Via Sam Giorgio, Vicolo San Carlo and other small streets full of
shops. The squares are also good places for
shopping, and Piazza Anfiteatro is one of the
best, with one fascinating shop window after
another. There is also Piazza Napoleone, Piazza San Michele and Piazza San Giusto, were
open air bars alternate between the shops. To
conclude our itinerary, just outside the Walls is
Borgo Giannottti: the shops in this area have
always been linked to arts and crafts.
© Kiaura
32
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SHOPPING
SHOPPING
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MUSEUM OF COMICS AND IMAGES
The Italian Museum of Comics and Images, located in the wonderful historical centre of the
city, in Piazza S. Romano, inside the prestigious building of the former Lorenzini Barracks,
is the largest and most important Italian museum of its kind. With extensive floor space (over
3000 sq. m.), modern facilities and innovative
multi-media equipment, the museum was conceived by Gianni Bono. It was his idea to unite
the imaginary, the modern and the real under
one roof. At the entrance there are imposing
sliding doors in the shape of shields. Inside,
there is a predominance of iron ore in the
structures, and black walls, perhaps to create
the atmosphere of an “old factory”. Thanks to
this museum and to the famous event “Lucca
Comics And Games”, the city has become a
landmark for everything concerning communication and image. Everyone who decides
to enter this “singular world” becomes directly
involved in it. The exhibition of comic illustrations is integrated with an information device,
designed to provide visitors with detailed explanations about the techniques used by the
artists. There is also an extensive and varied
catalogue of “virtual” illustrations, which can
be viewed at computer stations. The Guide
to Italian Comics and Comics City are two
particularly interesting collections. No less than
2,400 images are exhibited in the different halls
of the Museum, arranged according to theme.
The first hall is devoted to Signor Bonaventura:
a character conceived in 1917 by the imagination of Sergio Tofano. Other halls are also dedicated to historical comics, such as Novellino
(collection of Tuscan tales dating from at least
the late 13th century), and Corriere dei Piccoli,
the first weekly comic produced in Italy, published from 1908 to 1995. Individual artists like
the Italian illustrator Antonio Rubino are also
represented. The Museum tour then proceeds
to other halls dedicated to more recent comics
and artists, such as the one dedicated to the
Italian comic-strip artists and brothers Federico
and Luciano Petrocchi. Other unforgettable
collections include: Tex, a comic strip created
in 1948, and Diabolik, the famous comic-strip
character invented by the Giussani sisters, and
the halls dedicated to the comic-strip artist Jacovitti and the world of Disney, with some of
the first issues of Topolino (the Italian name for
Mickey Mouse) in magazine format. Roberta
Traversa and Renzo Pardini, in collaboration
with famous comic-strip artists, produced the
sets and sculptures inside the building. This
museum has made sure that absolutely nothing is missing for its numerous visitors. There is
even an interactive tour, including “The houses
where dreams live”, Lupo Alberto (a famous
Italian children’s comic-strip character) explains how a comics album is produced, and
there is the Art Attack Workshop. Various exhibitions, projects and events in the city spring
from and revolve around this facility.
33
MUSEUM OF COMICS
LUCCA
Lucca and its surrounding area has many places steeped in history and culture to offer the
vast number of tourists who come here every
year. As if that were not enough, in the last few
years the city decided to welcome new forms
of culture, promoting exhibitions and festivals
that quickly attracted extremely wide interest
among the public in Italy and further afield.
It was therefore decided to run important and
highly popular events in Lucca, alongside the
traditional antiques fair. And the most prominent of these newer events is without doubt
“Lucca Comics & Games”: the international
comics festival, in which the whole city is involved. This is the most important exhibition in
Italy dedicated to comics, animation, role-playing games, board games, card games, video
games, fantasy and science fiction. Internationally, the show is as important as Comicon in
San Diego, Festival International de la Bande
Dessinée d’Angoulême and Comiket in Tokyo.
It draws all the main companies in the sector, as
well as an increasing number of comic shops,
other specialized shops and game clubs. Many
subsidiary events are organized too, including
concerts, films, meetings with authors, presentations and tournaments, as well as shows
devoted to comics and animation in general.
During the festival, it is not uncommon to see
exhibitions and collections on show inside the
old palaces of the historical city centre.
The fair was held for the first time in 1966.
Since then, it has continued to grow, both in
importance and in the number of participants.
Originally it was held every year, but then it became biannual and, in 1986, “Lucca Comics
& Games” celebrated its seventeenth festival,
though it was called “Lucca Twenty Years” that
year, to avoid any association with what many
Italians believe to be an unlucky number. Unfortunately, these celebrations were followed by a
brief period of decline, and the event was suspended, but only for a few years. In the Spring
of 1990, it re-opened, this time as a twice-yearly festival. It has been an annual event since
the mid-1990s. The whole event was given its
current name of “Lucca Comics & Games” in
34
2000. This decision sprang from the increasing importance of Lucca Games within the fair,
in terms of exhibition space and the number of
visitors it attracted. This increase derived from
the economic boom in role-playing games, video games, etc. around the end of the 1990s. In
2006 the festival celebrated its 40th year and,
to mark the occasion, the city council decided
to hold the entire event within the city walls, in
the historical centre.
At the 2011 “Lucca Comics & Games”, held
from 28 October to 1 November, all previous
attendance records were beaten, with over
155,000 visitors, including 50,000 on Sunday
alone.
The 2012 festival is planned for 1st ,2nd ,3rd ,
and 4th November.
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COMICS & GAMES
COMICS & GAMES
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Below we quote Gwendolyn “Wendy” Giudetti’s
description of “Lucca Comics & Games” in the
blog Antonio-Genna.net:
“Lucca Comics is something that has to be experienced. It’s an event that can’t be described
or summed up in a short phrase by the book.
It’s not just an exhibition, it’s not just a lot of
tents and shows. Lucca Comics is a whole city
adopting thousands of people for a few days,
it’s streets being filled with the imaginings of
what we would like to be and what we are allowed to be, just for that moment and just in
that place. There is no other mediaeval city in
the world where, for a few days, you can be
dressed up as a cat, a witch, a superhero, a
stone giant, or anything you want, wear a costume and enjoy being recognized in that alter
ego, posing for photographs as you act out that
part we’ve dreamed of playing since we were
children, when we were told that only children
imagine. In Lucca there are people of all ages,
followers of fantasy and art from 100 years old
downwards. And let those who think a comic
or manga or videogame aren’t a form of art not
turn their noses up: they’ve obviously never
seen an artist at work, or a blank piece of paper turn into the image of a dream within a few
minutes”.
© Fabrizio Salvetti
© Caterina83
© Daniele Melato
35
COMICS & GAMES
LUCCA
Typical Lucchese food consists of hearty and
wholesome dishes that follow the culinary traditions of Tuscany. Like all cuisines of peasant
origin, it is based on humble and seasonal ingredients. As well as bread and pasta, hearty
soups, lentils, spelt and pork are all staples of
Lucchese food. As far as cakes and desserts
are concerned, the buccellato, a ring-shaped
cake flavoured with aniseed and sultanas, is
the bedrock of Lucchese baking. The city is
also famous for olive oil and wine, the jewels in
the crown of this land and indispensable ingredients for healthy and tasty cooking. These two
local products are also recognized as the pride
and prestige of Tuscan food and wine throughout the world.
Tordelli di Lucca
Ingredients: 500 g flour; 8 eggs; 350 g beef;
350 g pork; 150 g veal; extra-virgin olive oil;
salt; pepper; nutmeg; 1 glass of white wine;
thyme leaves; 2 cloves of garlic; parsley; 100 g
Parmesan cheese; bread soaked in milk.
Method: Salt and pepper the meat, then
brown it in the sizzling oil. Add the wine and
let it evaporate. Mince the meat finely and put
it into a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs and
add to the rest of the ingredients. Make the
dough for the pasta and roll it out. Prepare the
tordelli by putting small piles of the meat mixture (the filling) one beside the other, leaving
an edge of pasta 4-5 cm wide so that you can
cover them by folding it over. Seal the parcels with your fingers. Cut out the tordelli with
a pastry-cutter and seal the rim of each one
by pressing with the prongs of a fork, to create a ribbed edge. Boil plenty of salted water
in a large saucepan and cook the tordelli in it.
Serve with a meat sauce.
36
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FOOD
FOOD
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FOOD
LUCCA
Rovelline lucchesi
Ingredients: 150 g young beef (divided into 4
slices); 500 g chopped tomatoes; 2 cloves of
garlic; sage; rosemary; capers; oregano; 1 egg;
breadcrumbs; oil; salt and pepper.
Method: Fry the sage, rosemary and whole
cloves of garlic in the oil. When the garlic turns
golden, add the chopped tomatoes and capers,
salt and pepper and let it cook for half an hour
over moderate heat. Meanwhile dip the slices
of meat in the beaten egg – with a pinch of salt
added to it – then in the breadcrumbs and fry
them in hot oil. After cooking place them on
kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. Then,
as soon as the sauce is ready, add the fried
meat to the pan and cook for a few minutes
more.
Buccellato lucchese
Ingredients: 500 g flour; 150 g sugar; 50
g butter; 20 g beer yeast; 2 eggs; 1 glass of
milk; 50 g of sultanas; 2 teaspoons of aniseed; salt.
Method: Mix the flour with the sugar, egg,
butter, milk, a pinch of salt and the yeast, dissolved in a little warm water. Knead well until
the mixture looks like bread dough. Then mix
in the sultanas and the aniseed, ground in a
pestle and mortar. Make a ball and leave it
in a warm place to rise, covered with a cloth.
Then form long strips or rings from the dough
and cut the surface all along the middle (this
makes them rise better). Leave them in a
warm place again for an hour. Brush the surface with beaten egg and cook in a medium
oven for about an hour.
37
ABBACCHIO
Dead lamb. A typical Easter dish in Lucca.
BAMBORO
The term indicates both a child and the short,
squat marble columns with a ball on top, found
in Piazza San Michele in Lucca, used to support
the chain around the perimeter of the square.
BISCARO
A person with a low level of education and
rather slow wits, who is clearly behaving in an
improper way. The origin of this term is unclear, although it obviously developed in Tuscany. Some believe it derives from the male
genital organ, some from the surname of an
old Florentine family known for its bad financial investments, others from the key for tuning string instruments. When used in a joking
and colloquial manner, it means a simpleton.
The meaning therefore depends on the tone of
voice used and, obviously, the context.
BISCARATA
The act or thought of a biscaro. It means something done without thinking very much beforehand and that has had the disastrous results
we might have expected, had we only thought
a bit more before acting.
CEPPO
A gift that was traditionally given by betrothed
men to their brides-to-be at Christmas. The
women, in their turn, gave their betrothed a gift
on Epiphany. This gave rise to a local saying,
“chi ‘un inceppa ‘un imbefana”, “he who gives
no gift at Christmas gets none on Epiphany”.
GOCCIA
Nothing. “Oggi la mi’ figliola ‘un ha filato goccia”, “today my daughter has spun nothing”.
This term is also used in French with the same
meaning as in Lucca. However, while in French
a negative form is required to give it this particular meaning, in Lucchese dialect this is not
necessary.
IMPAGLIATA
A traditional celebration of the birth of a child,
38
in which relatives and friends took part. Sweetmeats, dried fruit and vin santo (sweet wine,
similar to wine used for communion at Mass)
were usually offered to the guests.
PASIMATA
A type of bread flavoured with saffron and aniseed. It was shared among the faithful on Easter morning, after being blessed by the priest,
together with the eggs. The pasimata was eaten before beginning Easter lunch.
PENTOLACCIA
In Italian this is a derogative term for a saucepan or, by connotation, the contents of it. But
the locals of Lucca call the first Sunday in Lent
“pentolaccia Sunday”.
POTTINO
A man who puts on the airs of a gentleman
without being one, an arrogant or mean person,
or braggart. The term comes from a traditional
make-believe character in Lucca’s folk culture,
the “conte Potta”, who is comparable to one of
the stock characters in the Commedia dell’Arte
theatre.
SCAMPANATA
A local custom, practiced until the 1930s and
1940s, by which people were ridiculed in a sensational manner, with uncomplimentary phrases, rhymes and epithets. To draw the attention of more people, cowbells, drums and old
saucepans were also used. The targets of this
custom were widowers who remarried in their
later years, cheated husbands and people who
gave rise to rumours.
TORDELLI
A local variant of the Italian term tortelli, small
stuffed pasta parcels. Traditionally they were
prepared at Carnival, the period just before
Lent, with elaborate and exquisite fillings. At the
lunch table, diners would compete with each
other to see who could eat the most. But they
had to be careful not to find the tordello filled
with oakum, otherwise they would become the
butt of the others’ jokes.
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GLOSSARY
GLOSSARY
LUCCA
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