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Facts and History - Lucca

History and Geography

Brief History

Lucca’s rich history began when it was founded by the Etruscans later becoming a Roman colony in 180 BC. Influences of its ancient Roman history are still found in the city’s street plan, the ancient forum under the Piazza San Michele and the ruins of the ancient amphitheater still seen in the Piazza dell Anfiteatro. From the 6th to the 11th century, Lucca became an important city that at one time minted its own coins and became prosperous by trading silk.

Beginning in 1160 and lasting for almost 500 years, Lucca was an independent republic. In the late 13th century, Lucca changed hands multiple times, including a short-lived rule by a Pisan. In the early 1300s, Lucca became a leading state in central Italy, but again experienced political and military battles over its control until the early 1600s. Once liberated by Emperor Charles the IV, Lucca maintained its independence once again until the French Revolution in 1789.

Napoleon conquered Lucca in 1805 and installed his sister, Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi as Queen. After the fall of Napoleon, the city once again changed hands several times until it became part of the unified Italian State in the late 1800s.

Today Lucca is a charming city of 90,000 people and 99 churches surrounded by fortress walls that date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Its cute piazzas and cobblestone streets filled with bicycles instead of cars makes it a relaxing destination when cruising the Mediterranean and calling at the port of Livorno, especially since it is not crammed with tourists as many of Tuscany's most beautiful cities are in the summer.

History - Time Line

3rd century BC - founded by the Etruscans.
180 BC - Roman Colony.
56 BC - First Triumvirate (Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus) agreed in Lucca.
Early 6th century - Frediano bishop of Lucca.
742 - Volto Santo arrived in Lucca.
1160 - becomes an independent commune.
1273 - ruled by a Guelph (Luchetto Gattilusio).
1316 - ruled by condottiere Castruccio Castracani.
1325 - battle of Altopascio, Castracani defeated Florence's Guelphs.
1326 - occupied by Louis of Bavaria.
1330 - sold to a rich Genoese, Gherardino Spinola.
1332 - seized by John, king of Bohemia.
1338 - pawned to the Rossi of Parma.
1339 - ceded to Mastino II della Scala of Verona.
1340 - sold to the Florentines.
1342 - surrendered to the Pisa.
1368 - liberated by the emperor Charles IV.
1408 - hosts the end of the schism in the papacy.
1628 - becomes an independent oligarchic republic.
1805 - conquered by Napoleon.
1815 to 1847 - ruled under the Bourbon-Parma duchy.
1847 - annexed to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
1860 - part of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
1861 - part of the Italian State.

Historic Personalities

St. Anselm of Lucca (1036–1086) - bishop of Lucca.
Giovanni Arnolfini (1400-1452) - merchant and arts patron born in Lucca.
Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805) - musician and composer born in Lucca.
Elisa Bonaparte (1777-1820) - sister of Napoleon, Duchesse of Lucca, Grand duchess of Tuscany.
Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762) - musician and composer born in Lucca.
Pope Lucius III (1100-1159) - pope born in Lucca.
Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) - opera composer born in Lucca.
Giuseppe Ungaretti - modernist poet
Saint Zita (1212 - 1272) - the patron saint of maids and domestic servants born in Lucca
Zita of Bourbon-Parma (1892-1989) - last Empress of Austria born in Lucca.

Lucca - FACTS

The Province

Lucca is the capital of one of the 10 provinces of Tuscany and lies on its northwestern coastal border. It borders the following provinces: Massa Carrara to the northwest, Pisa to the south, Pistoia to the north-east, Florence and Modena to the east.

Population: 400,000 inhabitants
Area: 1,773 sqkm (685 sq miles)

The Province is subdivided in 4 "Frazioni": Piana di Lucca, Versilia, Media Valle del Serchio and Garfagnana.

The City

Area

185.5 km2
(71.6 sq mi)

Population

Aproximately 87,500 residents
(2012)

Population Density

470 sqkm
(1,200 / sq miles)

Patron Saints

St. Paulinus
Saint day: July 12

SOURCES

Wikipedia; www.comune.lucca.it; ISTAT

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Last Update: June 6, 2016

The information on this page was accurate when last updated and published but changes may have occurred without notice.
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