Private tour from Florence to Lucca by car and multilanguage driver
In the Middie Ages a network of narrow winding alleys and uneven squares was constructed within the Roman chequerboard plan; the amphitheatre was obliterated but the site reappeared with the construction of Piazza dell'Anfiteatro.
the surrounding countryside. Construction began on the town walls but almost a century passed before they were complete. Inside the town most of the houses were rebuilt or extensively altered; stone replaced the brick used in medieval buildings. This period saw the construction of the many Renaissance facades that give the town its character today.
A Short-lived Principality - For a very short period in the early 19C life in Lucca was dominated by one woman, Élisa Bonaparte, who was crowned Princess of Lucca and Piombino by her brother, Napoleon, after his conquest of Italy. From 1805 to 1813, aided by her husband Félix Baciocchi, she ruled decisively and wisely over her principality and showed a remarkable talent for managing affairs.
Prosperous Merchants - In the 12C-13C, after becoming a free town, Lucca continued to enjoy economic growth through producing and trading in silk. It experienced its period of greatest prosperity under the leadership of the great condottiere, Castruccio Castracani in the early 14C. It was at that time, when Lucca's merchants exported their famous silks throughout Europe and even to the countries of the Orient, that most of the churches were rebuilt and the splendid facades were constructed in a style borrowed from Pisan architects, although in Lucca the decoration was given an extra touch of fantasy and refinement. A number of imposing Gothic residences, some of which still have their towers, have also survived from this period.
Another major figure in local history was Paolo Guinigi, who came from a wealthy merchant family and was lord of the town in 1400.
Renaissance and Agriculture - During the second half of the 16C Lucca abandoned its declining trade and industry and turned instead to farming. lts economic recovery was accompanied by intense architectural activity. Numerous villas were built in