Founded by the Romans on the site of an earlier settlement, Lucca was an important ancient city that rose to prominence in the Middle Ages as a center of silk production; its traders and bankers could be found throughout Europe and in England. In the Renaissance its wealthiest citizen commissioned a precocious example of the new classical sculpture, Jacopo della Quercia's Ilaria del Carretto; at the turn of the sixteenth century Matteo Civitali brought the High Renaissance to Lucca. Over the fourteenth and fifteenth century the city saw a flurry of building of new palaces, chapels, and public buildings, culminating in its remarkably well-preserved circuit of walls. On this Renaissance foundation a Baroque phase saw the city enriched by the works of local artists of international renown, from the team of Coli-Gherardi to Pompeo Batoni. A ring of renowned villas in the vicinity crowns this jewel of the Renaissance.
Lucca is easily accessible by public transportation from the International Airports of Pisa and Florence. The coast of Viareggio is 20 minutes away by train, and from there a few stops north are found the marble quarries of Carrara and the workshops of Pietrasanta.
The Renaissance Lives. In Lucca.
The annual Feast of San Paolino is an opportunity to celebrate Lucca's traditions of Renaissance flag throwing, marching bands, dance—all as a prelude the crossbow competition, the Palio della Balestra.