Religious Sites Lucca Destination Livorno Cruise Port | IQ Cruising

Religious Sites - Lucca

Churches and Chappels

Overview

Three of the highlights of Lucca are churches not to be missed when touring the city and that are, always, shown when on a ship tour - the Cattedrale di San Martino, the Basilica di San Frediano and San Michele in Foro. But as Lucca is frequently referred to as a city on 100 churches, many other are worth a visit or just a pick inside if the cruise traveler is exploring the city on foot and pass by any of the ones listed below.

Chiesa di San Giovanni e Santa Reparata
(Church of St. John)

Editor Points:  The Chiesa e Battistero di San Giovanni e Santa Reparata is a beautiful church neighboring the Duomo, but the most fascinating part of visiting the church is the architectural excavations in its north transept.

Photo of Chiesa di San Giovanni e Santa Reparata (Church of St. John) in Lucca

Church of St. John

Photo © IQCruising.com

The church structure is five layers deep. The current Romanesque church is built on top of a Lombard church from the early 700s, which is built on a paleo-Christian church from the 400s, which was built on a Roman temple built on Roman houses. Signs can help visitors make sense of this jumble of history.

WHERE Historical Center - between Piazza Napoleone and Cathedral
Address: Piazza San Giovanni
Open: March 15 to November 1 - Every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm | Nov.2 to Mar.15 - Saturday and Sunday ONLY from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed: In the Winter Period
Entrance: € 2.50 - Combined ticket with the Cathedral's Museum: € 2.50

San Paolino
(Church of Saint Paolino and Saint Donato)

Editor Points: The only true Renaissance church in Lucca, this is one of the best preserved religious sites in the historical city. Located in a Via San Paolino, half way between Piazzale Verdi and Piazza San Michele, the church is easily identifiable with its two niches on each side of the door where statues of S. Paolino and S. Donato stand. The interior is impeccably maintained boasting original furnishings, paintings, sculptures and a stunning marble choir. Most shore excursions pass by the church but tour guides do not usually allow time to visit it - if the cruise traveler goes on a ship tour, the Editor advises a pick inside.

Photo of San Paolino (Church of Saint Paolino) in Lucca

Church of Saint Paolino

Photo by Sailko CC-by-SA

San Cristoforo
(Church of St. Christopher)

Editor Points:  One of the oldest churches in Lucca, dating as far back as 1053, the Church of St. Christopher is emblematic of the distinctive architecture of Pisa and Lucca, and in particular of the work of master Diotisalvi - the author of the baptistery of Pisa. Closed to worshiping, the church is now a site paying homage to the soldiers of Lucca killed in the war - look for the names inscribed on the walls of the nave. The site is also used for cultural events and exhibitions.

Photo of San Cristoforo (Church of St. Christopher) in Lucca

Church of St. Christopher

Photo © IQCruising.com

San Pietro Somaldi
(Church of St. Peter Somaldi)

Editor Points:  Located behind the Amphitheatre Square (east side), the church is named after Sumulado who founded an early one in 763 on the same site. The present building dates back to the twelfth century and is another excelant example of the architeactural style characteristic of Lucca. The lintel by Guido Bigarelli, on the central portal, depicting St. Peter receiving the keys, is a must see.

Photo of San Pietro Somaldi (St. Peter's Church Somaldi) in Lucca

St. Peter Somaldi

Photo: Sailko CC-by-SA

San Giusto
(Church of St. Giusto)

Editor Points: The church is located on the off the beaten path Piazza San Giusto, behind Piazza San Michele (east side). The church is seldom ignored by visitors passing by this small square surrounded by a few coffee shops and restaurants and where an almost permanent outdoor book market takes place. However, a pick inside reveals an exuberant Baroque decor contrasting with the austerity of the facade in thick bands of white above the main door. The portal with two lions overhang on the sides frames the classic lintel.

Photo of S. Giusto Church in Lucca

S. Giutso, in Lucca

Photo: Geobia CC-by-SA

Santa Maria Della Rosa
(Church of St. Mary Rose)

Editor Points: One of the Editor's favorite churches, Santa Maria Della Rosa is one of the rarest examples of Gothic architecture in Lucca. In a very off the beaten track location, behind the Cathedral, it owes its name to the worship of an image of Saints Peter and Paul with the Madonna holding roses in her hand. Initially an oratory, it was transformed into a church in 1309 with its current facade. In its interior, the main altar displays the "Madonna Della Rose", am extraordinary artwork not to be missed.

Photo of Santa Maria della Rosa (Church of St. Mary Rose) in Lucca

Santa Maria della Rosa

Photo © IQCruising.com

Regularly visited by Santa Gemma Galgani, who died in 1903 at the age of 25, cruise travelers should look for the bench where the saint used to pray.

Santa Maria Foris Portam
(Church of St. Mary Foris Portam)

Editor Points: Once outside the original Roman walls that surround the Lucca, the church is also known as Santa Maria Bianca (Saint White Mary) as a reference to the color of the marble and limestone in its structure and facade. Hence being located on the Piazza Santa Maria Bianca. After a period of reconstruction in the sixteenth century, the bell tower was finished in 1619, and besides a few restoration works, the church maintains its unfinished aspect.

Photo of Santa Maria Foris Portam (Church of St. Mary Foris Portam) in Lucca

Church of St. Mary Foris Portam

Photo © IQCruising.com

The sun-clock engraved in the pavement of the church that works as a camera oscura is particularly interesting. And so are two paintings by Guercino: St Lucy and Assumption.

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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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