Located on the left of the river Serchio, the province of Lucca is
bordered by the provinces of Pisa,
Florence, Pistoia and Massa, and, along with the latter, occupies the northernmost part of the region of Tuscany.
The city of Lucca has a medieval layout, although it originated in Roman times, as witnessed by the beautiful
amphitheater constructed in the second century A.D. and the traces of the
Roman walls. The city enjoyed its
maximum grandeur during the middle ages thanks to its silk industry and bankers, despite its continually
alternating fortunes due to the fighting between the Guelfs and Ghibellines and the wars between Pisa and Florence.
Lucca is one of Italy's principal "cities of art", and is famous above all for the large wall that surrounds it,
built between the 15th and 17th centuries. Still intact and well preserved, particularly because it was never
used for defense purposes, this wall has been transformed into a pleasant promenade that extends all around the
historic city center. Also the monumental city center has conserved its original features with numerous buildings
of architectural importance. The many suggestive urban spaces include the
Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, the narrow,
medieval street Via Fillungo, along which one finds the city's
principal shops, Piazza San Michele and
Piazza San Martino, which is
the center of the city's religious life insofar
as this is the site of the
famous Duomo di San Martino. The presence of so many medieval churches
with their remarkable architecture,
has led to Lucca's nickname "city of the 100 churches", including the abovementioned
Cathedral di San Martino,
the Basilica di San Frediano, the church of
San Michele in Foro, and the
Certosa di Farneta.
The city surroundings present a marvelous natural landscape, with luxurious country villas built mostly in the
17th and 18th centuries.
The city's many important cultural events include Lucca Comics,
Italy's most important comics fair (late
October to mid-November), the Lucca Digital Photo Fest, a large
journalistic-photographic exhibit (end November
to mid-December), and Summerfestival, a musical event held in
Piazza Napoleone in July.
A tradition that has been maintained over the centuries is the production of local gastronomic specialties:
visitors are encouraged to try the buccellato - a typical ring shaped
sweet of Lucca that dates back to the
Roman era, castagnaccio - a sort of cake made with chestnut flour,
and necci - rustic forerunners of crepes, but made with chestnut flour.
Lucca is also famous as the birthplace of famous musicians, such as Giacomo Puccini, Luigi Boccherini and