The walls of Lucca

The walls of Lucca

The walls of Lucca were built during the Middle Age (credits: De Rinaldis Salvatore)

Our Studentessa Matta explores the city of Lucca and its walls.

Lucca was founded by the Etruscans and then became a Roman colony and there are still a few traces of the ancient Roman walls visible. During the middle ages a new wall was begun and the walls continued to grow along with the expansion of the city. The last major fortification of the city was driven by a perceived threat of the Medici’s of Firenze and work was resumed on the walls in 1545 and finished in 1650. To consolidate the enormous mass of earth, trees were planted on top of the walls. 

As impressive as the wall of Lucca may be, the ramparts were never actually used for military purposes. It does help however protect the city for the overflows of the Serchio river probably a bigger nemesis than the threats of the Medici family!
During the Napoleon era, the walls were demilitarized and in 1809 Napoleon’s sister, Elisa Baiocchi built the Porta Elisa in the neoclassical style. But, it was Luisa of Bourbon, with the help of the royal architect Lorenzo Nottolini, who transformed the walls of Lucca into a delightful park and playground.



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