The walls of Lucca, loved and celebrated by the inhabitants of the city and admired and appreciated by tourists from all over the world for their extraordinary state of preservation.
The walls of Lucca are the second major example in Europe of walls built according to the principles of modern fortification that has been preserved completely intact in a large city. Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, holds the record with a circle of walls of 4.5 km with 11 bastions and three gates.
The current city walls of Lucca, exactly 4 kilometers long and 223 meters long, are the result of the last reconstruction campaign, started on 7 May 1504 and ended only a century and a half later, in 1648.
The works also took place in the second half of the seventeenth century, with structural updates based on new knowledge and construction techniques. Never used for defensive purposes, the modern structure is divided into 12 curtains and 11 bulwarks.
These are seen as a strong sign of cultural identity and as a container for the historical memory of the territory.
The dimensions of the walls are startling. 4 kilometres long. Nearly 30 meters wide. Made up of 11 different earthworks. By the standards of the day it was a masterful defence system.
Without the city walls, and other reasons I tell you later, Lucca would not exist as we see it today.
The walls of Lucca are the second in Europe for length with its 4,2 km (2,60 miles), just behind the walls of Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus. Lucca’s city walls have eleven bastions, six main entrance gates, other three more ancient gates, and some secondary doors to get out the historical center.
Throughout its history, four different walls were built in Lucca.
The Romans founded Lucca 2000 years ago, in the 180 BC, and they built the first fortification.
It lasted until 1118 when Lucca became a Comune and a second set of walls was built integrating the Roman old ones.
During 1300, Lucca became bigger and they needed to better enclose and defend the city from the enemies with the third set of walls. Instead, the wonderful fascinating huge walls we see today are of Renaissance origin.
The construction began on 1504 after more than hundred years.
Ramparts in Lucca walled town in Tuscany region
10 ramparts arranged along 4 kilometers in length, an average height of 12 meters, 75 hectares of meadow on which stands the red brick wall. The walls of Lucca built between the mid-16th century and the mid-17th century as a fortified defensive system are today a large park that embraces the city.
The Walls of Lucca have remained intact up to the present day: the Lucca community deserves the credit for having built, preserved and, in the post-unification era, repurchased by the State that had come into its possession.
The underground vaults of the bulwarks, restored and open to the public, are unusual places for permanent art exhibitions, concerts, theater performances and sports gatherings.
The barracks and the castles above the doors, once occupied by soldiers, host small city museums, restaurants, cultural foundations.
Pedestrian sorties have been added to the monumental original entrance doors, which, in correspondence of each bulwark, allow access from the passages that were once secret and that of that time retain the charm and magic.
The curtains, exactly as long as a marathon, is the favorite place of Lucca for relaxation, walking, sport.
For the enthusiasts there is also an appreciable botanical walk among elms, plane trees and tulips, the tulip tree and many others.
The Walls of Lucca are today a promenade, unique in the world, an uninterrupted and always new view of the monuments, churches and buildings of the city.
From Baluardo Santa Maria, where the Caffè delle Mura is located since 1840 and proceeding to the left, pass the castle above Porta San Pietro
Outside the city the panorama sweeps over the Monte Pisano.
From the San Colombano rampart, towards the interior of the city you can see the bell tower and the stupendous apse of the Cathedral of San Martino and a little further on you can see the remains of the Roman walls near the church of the Rose.
Once you reach the Baluardo San Regolo, you can stop at the Botanical Garden and take a look at the romantic path of the ditches.
Their current structure dates back to the nineteenth century. Losing their defensive function, the Walls were converted to civil use in the early decades of the nineteenth century, when the ancient curtains of the fortification were transformed into the current shady city promenade.
Today the walls of Lucca, with a development of more than four kilometers, are nothing but a single urban park.
The particularity of the trees was already partly planted in 1546 and attracted the attention of foreign travelers since the end of the sixteenth century, which still represents the most distinctive feature of the city’s image.
The walls of Lucca are the greatest example in Europe of walls built according to the principles of the modern fortification that has been preserved completely intact in a large city. The current city wall, about 4 kilometers long and 223 meters long, is in fact the result of the last reconstruction campaign, started in 1504 and completed only in 1645 according to a project sent by Alessandro Farnese from Flanders. Articulated in 12 curtains and with eleven bastions (called in the city bulwarks) and a platform, they were never used to defend themselves from a siege, unlike the older city walls, as they were conceived as a deterrent against the now unlikely expansionist aims of the Florence of the Grand Duchy .
The only occasion in which the walls were put to the test was during the disastrous flood of the Serchio of 18 November 1812, when the doors were locked and with the aid of mattresses and straw mattresses a relative water tightness was guaranteed in the center of Lucca .
In order to enter the city, Elisa Baciocchi herself was hoisted with a sort of barbell so as not to open the doors locked to the fury of the waters.
During the nineteenth century, the walls were transformed into a pleasant pedestrian promenade, and together with the ramparts and meadows in front of the walls, it represents the main city park destined during the summer to be a natural stage for shows and events.
The Gates of the Walls that surround the city of Lucca, in the past represented one of the key points of the city defense system and the customs border where goods were taxed. Open at dawn and closed at sunset, they were equipped with elements designed to defend against enemy attacks, such as fences and drawbridges eliminated when the walls were converted for civil use in the early decades of the nineteenth century.
Originally, according to the Roman approach given in the 2nd century BC, the city gates were four (as many as the cardinal points), but later, when the walls were rebuilt in the Renaissance, they were reduced to three: Porta San Pietro, Porta Santa Maria and Porta San Donato.
Today the Walls are six, in fact, to those above have been added Porta Elisa, Porta Sant’Anna and Porta San Jacopo. Within the walls it is also possible to admire the monumental gates that delimited the city before the extension of the city walls: Porta dei Borghi, Porta San Gervasio and Porta San Donato vecchia.
Powered by Embed YouTube Video