On saturday, a beautiful shiny day we went to Lucca accompagnied by one of our school teachers, Silvia. At 10 O´Clock we started with a city walk guided by her.
The citywalls are still intact and there are 5 entrances to enter the city. Above each entrance is written a word: LIBERTAS – liberty. Nobody in history has ever reached to capture the city. Out of the control by the Medici, Lucca had built a reputation by its drapery trade. Going by bike you can easily discover the city. Another possibility is walking along the city walls!!
On our way we have visited the Cattedrale di San Martino, on which exterior wall is carved a maze. Why is it there? This relates to the Dädalus Myth. (Teseo manages to leave the maze by following the red thread of Ariadne) The hidden message is this: Who believes in God will reach everything. In the inside of the church is situated the monument dedicated to Ilaria del Caretto, the departed wife of Paolo di Guinigi. The Guinigis were one of the predominating families in Lucca. After the premature death of his beloved Ilaria (she just became 25 years old), sad widow Paolo charged Jacopo della Quercia with building her a monument. Very well worked are her delicately chiselled features as well as the hands. Her feet are bedded on the back of a dog, symbol of absolute loyalty.
In addition he´s facing Ilaria. Initially kept in the mainroom of the church, it was taken to the adjacent room, under the control of the Lorena, which superseded also the Medici.
Furthermore there is the Volto Santo, which is basically the wooden cross with Jesus and at the same time a relic, because there should be, in according to the legend a real piece of the crown of thornes, the original cross and the vesture of Jesus. Therefor this Cathedral is a significant place of transit for the pilgrims on the way from France to Rome following the Via Francigena.
Every third saturday takes place the Mercato dei Pulci (fleamarket) in Lucca. It´s huge! (Via del Battistero, Piazza Antelminelli, Piazza San Martino, Piazza San Giusto, Piazza San Giovanni etc.) It´s such impressive that one cannot simply get enough of seeing all the things which are up for sale. There you’re able to find antiquities, such as furniture, books and tableaux.
44, 4 metres is the height of the Torre Guinigi (Guinigi Tower) – but this fact hasn´t discouraged us and we went up there. It was really worth it, the view from above is unpayable. You´re able to see the whole city. The Guinigi stretched it by planting the Lecci (type of tree).
After having a relaxing lunch on Piazza dell´Anfiteatro we took a look at church San Frediano, which was bishop from 560 to 588 a.D. The Byzantine Mosaic was catching our eyes. Since 1957 it carries the title of honor: Basilica minore.
Next we went to the Torre dell´Ora (Clocktower) which has also a background stepped in legend. According to this there should have lived a beautiful woman which indulged the senses of everyone. Her only mistake was being very vain and after a few years she recognized that she is going to be old, detecting first signs of the age like wrinkles.
One night appeared a person in her room, it was the devil. With him she dealed that her was given other 30 years of beauty, but after that her soul should be given to the devil. Living her new beauty she forgot after short time the deal and only at the very last minute she reminded his words and ran to the said tower. She tried to reach the top and to stop the time passing by stopping its hands, but it was too late. The devil took her soul and she was tragically dying.
Piazza San Michele in Foro
In the ancient Rome the Forum was essential. At this place fiery speeches were held and the belongings of the inhabitants discussed, but first of all it’s been a place of assembly for the Lucchesi. San Michele (Saint Michael) is situated on top of the church.
Last but not least we’ve visited the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini (Tosca, Turandot, Madame Butterfly, La fanciulla del West) in Via della Cittadella. The appartment was big for those times, but rather inconspicuos. Observing the original robe of Turandot on the other hand was just spectacular!!
Thank you so much Silvia and of course thanks to our participators!!
Thanks. Very interesting post! -Sam
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