Highlights Lucca Destination Livorno Cruise Port | IQ Cruising

HIGHLIGHTS of Lucca

Must See and Do in Lucca

Overview

Lucca is one of the most charming towns of Tuscany with a number of very interesting attractions, some of which must be highlighted. For the cruise ship passenger visiting Lucca, all these highlights are easy to explore. The city is absolutely flat, it is small and all highlights are at walking distance from each other.

For those looking into a more active exploration, the 2.5-mile walk around the City Walls can be the right choice. But, even this, can be done on a bicycle, which is the transport of choice for many visitors of Lucca. If the cruise passenger is looking for the typical sightseeing tours, be surprised to know that Lucca doesn’t have any sort of Hop-On Hop-Off buses because all highlights and attractions are so close to each other, and the town is so easy to be explored on foot.

Cattedrale di San Martino
(Cathedral)

Editor Points: Legend has it that the columns on the façade of the Cattedrale di San Martino, Lucca’s Duomo, are all different because Lucca held a contest to see who could make the best column. When the contest was over and the artists presented their work the town decided to keep them all. Besides legend, a first church was built on this location on the orders of S.Frediano, the Irish bishop of Lucca who died in 588. However, this church was rebuilt and solemnly consecrated in 1070, in the presence of Countess Matilda of Canossa, by Pope Alexander II (1061-1073). During the 13th and 14th century the church went to a lot of rebuilding in various stages until the final reconstruction of the church, including the reorganization of the facade.

Photo of Columns of Cathedral's Façade in Lucca

Columns of Cathedral's Façade

Photo © IQCruising.com

The works continued on and off until 1637 with the completion of the Chapel of the Shrine. Architecturally stunning the Duomo’s true treasures lie within where the visitor can admire works of art like 'Madonna and Child with Saints' by Fra 'Bartolomeo, 'Last Supper' by Jacopo Tintoretto, 'Deposition of Christ' by Nicola Pisano, the 'Funeral Monument' of Ilaria del Carretto made ​​by Jacopo Della Quercia and 'Madonna and Child' by Domenico Ghirlandaio. The main highlight is the 'Volto Santo' - see below.

WHERE City Center - south east of Piazza San Michelle
Address: Piazza San Martino
Open: Summer hours from 09.30 am to 5.45pm (Saturday - 6:45)
Winter from 09:30 am to 4.45pm (Saturday - 6:45)
Admission: Cathedral: € 3.00. Cumulative ticket: € 7.00 - includes Cathedral, Museum, San Giovanni and Reparata (archaeological and bell tower).
Website: Visit OFFICIAL Site

Volto Santo

The Volto Santo is contained within the tempietto in the north aisle of the Cattedrale di San Martino. It is a simple, wooden life-sized Christ on a crucifix that is believed to have been carved by Nicodemus, a witness to the crucifixion. Pilgrims flock to the Volto Santo and every year on September 13th during the Luminaria di Santa Croce, it is carried through the streets in a holy procession. On special ceremony days like this, the Volto Santo is adorned with jewelry usually stored across the street in the Museo Della Cattedrale.

Basilica di San Frediano
(Basilica of St. Frediano)

Editor Points: The Basilica di San Frediano was built in the early 6th century by Fridianus, an Irish bishop of Lucca. Its Roman appearance is due to work done between 1112 and 1147, but its impressive façade was not added until the 13th and 14th centuries. The huge mosaic depicting the Ascension of Christ was designed by the school of Lucca Berlinghieri in the Byzantine style. Thousands of gold leaf tiles adorn the mosaic so that it sparkles in the sunlight and dazzles at any time of day or night.

Photo of Basilica of St. Frediano in Lucca

Basilica of St. Frediano Façade

Photo © IQCruising.com

The church holds many religious and artistic treasures within its walls, but a highlight of a trip inside the Basilica di San Frediano is the baptismal font just inside the entrance. Created sometime in the 12th century, it was dismantled and hidden for centuries until it was rediscovered in the 18th century. Though unknown who the artists were, it appears that the work was done by three master craftsmen. The bowl is covered with a tempietto that depicts the apostles and represents the months of the year. It rests on pillars inside a large lower basin that have the story of Moses sculpted into its interior. The gorgeous frescos by Amico Aspertini in the chapel of the Cross are another highlight of the basilica.

WHERE Old Town - North of Piazza San Michele, close to walls.
Address: Piazza San Frediano
Open: Everyday: 08.30 am to noon and 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm | Holidays: 10.30 am to 5.00 pm
Closed: NA
Admission: FREE

San Michele in Foro
(Saint Michael in the Forum)

Editor Points: San Michele in Foro is a beautiful Romanesque church that was built in the center of Lucca on top of the ancient Roman forum, which is how it got its name. The façade is perhaps even more spectacular than that of the Duomo. Because there was never any money to raise the nave roof, the statue of the Archangel Michel appearing to take flight from the top level has nothing but air behind it. The lower levels were restored in the 19th century and feature busts of Garibaldi and Cavour. The interior is not as fantastic as the church’s exterior, but the painting of Sts. Roch, Sebastian, Jerome, and Helen by Filippino Lippi are worth a step inside.

Photo of San Michele in Lucca

San Michele south side

Photo © IQCruising.com

WHERE Old City - it is the heart of the historical city with major streets starting and ending here.
Address: Piazza San Michele
Open: Summer: 07.40am to noon and 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm
Winter: 9:00 am to noon and 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Closed: NA
Admission: FREE

Museu Nazionale Palazzo Mansi
(Palazzo Mansi National Museum)

Editor Points: Palazzo Mansi is one of two national museums in Lucca, the other being the Villa Giunigi. As spectacular as the art collection the palace’s decorations dating back from the 16th century through the 19th century are exquisite. Besides the display of paintings by Lucca's artists (Batoni, Tofanelli, Ridolfi, Marcucci), the collection ranges from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century with a few notable pieces by great masters. Among these masterpieces, the following should not be missed: Luca Giordano’s 'St Sebastian', the portrait Alessandro de 'Medici by Jacopo Pontormo, Bronzino’s Portrait of Cosimo, Correggio’s Madonna, the portrait of a Venetian senator by Tintoretto.

Photo of Pinacoteca Nazionale di Palazzo Mansi in Lucca

Palazzo Mansi Courtyard

Photo: sailko - CC-by-SA

WHERE City Center - on the west side, close to walls, street off Via San Paolino
Address: Via Galli Tassi 43
Open: Tuesday to Saturday 8:30 am - 7:30 pm
Closed: Sunday and January 1st, May 1st, December 25th
Website: Visit Official Site
Entrance: € 4.00 - Cumulative ticket for the two National Museums: € 6.50,

Palazzo Pfanner
(Pfanner Palace)

Editor Points: The Palazzo Pfanner is a 17th-century palace that is most well-known as a one of the locations for the 1996 film Portrait of a Lady, its outdoor staircase, and 18th-century garden. There are a large fountain and pool at the center of the garden, as well as well-kept pebble paths lined with delightful statues.

Photo of Palazzo Pfanner (Pfanner Palace) in Lucca

Palazzo Pfanner and Gardens

Photo © IQCruising.com

WHERE City Center - north, close to walls and Basilica of St. Frediano
Address: Via degli Asili, 33
Open: April to November
Daily 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Closed: December to March
Admitance: Palace and Gardens: €6.00
Palace only: €4.50
Website: Visit OFFICIAL Site

Piazza Anfiteatro
(Amphitheater Square)

Photo of Piazza Anfiteatro (Amphitheater Square) in Lucca

Amphitheater Square Buildings

Photo © IQCruising.com

Editor Points: The charming Piazza Anfiteatro has been built over an ancient Roman amphitheater. Unlike other Roman piazzas built on similar ancient sites, Duke Ludovico commissioned architect Lorenzo Nottolini to restructure the piazza in the 1930s so that the ancient building’s shape was preserved. Today the picturesque jumble of cafes, shops and apartment buildings lining the piazza still follow the oval shape of the ancient amphitheater. Visitors can still see the outer edge of the stadium’s arcade and take a step into the entry ways of some of the apartment buildings to see other remnants of ancient Rome.

Passeggiata della Mura
(City Walls Walk)

Photo of Passeggiata della Mura (City Walls Walk) in Lucca

Biking on the City Walls

Photo © IQCruising.com

Editor Points: Right along the tops of the wall circling Lucca lays the Passeggiata della Mura, a 2 ½-mile park that is neither in Lucca nor out. There are no railings and the drop down below is 40 feet, so watch where you are while biking, strolling or playing in the uniquely located park.

Must See

Cathedral - Interior

Photo of 'Last Supper' by Tintoretto in Lucca

Photo: Mongolo1984 CC-by-SA

'Last Supper' by Tintoretto


Photo of 'Madonna and Child' by Ghirlandaio in Lucca

Photo: CC-by-SA

'Madonna and Child' by Ghirlandaio


Photo of Ilaria del Carretto by Jacopo della Quercia in Lucca

Photo: Joanbanjo CC-by-SA

Ilaria del Carretto
by Jacopo della Quercia


San Michele in Foro

Photo of San Michele in Foro in Lucca

Photo: jimmyweee CC-by-SA

Façade and Archangel


Basilica of St. Frediano

Photo of Baptismal Font Basilica of St. Frediano in Lucca

Photo © IQCruising.com

Baptismal Font


Photo of Nave Basilica of St. Frediano in Lucca

Photo © IQCruising.com

Nave


Photo of Frescos by Amico Aspertini Church of San Frediano in Lucca

Photo: JoJan CC-by-SA

Frescos by Amico Aspertini


Piazza Anfiteatro

Photo of Piazza Anfiteatro in Lucca

Photo © IQCruising.com

Roman Stadium’s Arcade

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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.
It is advisable to confirm details with local tourist information before planning your cruise, tour or excursion of Lucca (Livorno).
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