The Walls of Lucca, built between the middle of 16th century
and the beginning of 17th century represent a fortification system
that has remained intact up today.
The surface of the brick curtain wall presents here and there
remains of the mediaeval city stone walls; the bastions stretch
out to remind the firing system, the gates with devotional images,
barracks, glacis, mots, sally-ports, and the large plantation
of trees on the top where towers and bell-towers can be seen.
In the process of transformation of the town, the city-walls have
always formed an inseparable whole with the town itself.
Their defence function as fortress "alla moderna", with external
glacis and grassy terreplains, has been transformed into urban
The trees planted since the building of the military structure,
for functional-strategic purposes, have been replaced by broad
leafy trees to shade the promenade.
Lucca as other European and Renaissance fortified cities had a
defensive system of bastions surmounted by a thicket of trees;
this system has been kept organic to the evolution of the town,
to its the territory, to the system of "villas" that spread out
in the surrounding hills creating a network of architecture and
One can view "the arboreal horizon", observing the town from the
top, capture better the plan of the town, retrace the monuments,
and reach the heart of Lucca through the maze of descents of our
It recalls the mythic Babylonians Gardens, the Renaissance utopic
idea of the city built on many levels, while the suggestion of
the subterranean, hidden route visible only in some parts evoke
the strategies of ancient defense system.
Peace and War are symbolized by darkness and light, indoor and
In the heart of the bastion S. Paolino the story of the city and
of the walls can be understood better trough visual, acoustic,
and interactive, effects where the multimedia museum is.
The city-walls park contains fragments of memories from all ages,
military and civil witnesses of the town: the Mediaeval and Renaissance
walls, visible on some bastions, the house of the public executioner,
the sally ports and barracks (used today as cultural centers hosting
a newspapers library, a library for students, showrooms and areas
for meetings and stages).
The "Antico Caffé delle Mura" was built in the 19th century when
the Bourbons wanted to stress the recreative vocation of the park.
In 1820 the botanic gardens were founded in the area of the bastione
S. Regolo where in the past, during peace time, the people played
football. The botanic garden with its collection of grassy plants,
"igrofile", and blossom trees represents the direct link between
the gardens of the town and of its territory.
||The garden of Palazzo Pfanner
From the garden you can reach the "hortus conclusus" in the building
of San Micheletto which recalls the typology of monastic gardens
with the votive image and the walks with fruits trees and plants
symbolizing the devotion to Holy Mary.
In via "Elisa" (the Napoleonic route leading to the gate opened
at the beginning of 19th century), the garden of "Villa Buonvisi-Bottini"
delimited by the boundary wall enriched with windows, hosts the
"Nimphaea" of the 16th century, attributed to Bartolomeo Ammanati,
covered with sponges, stuccoes, marble emblems, it concludes the
scenic and the visual perspective of the villa, and it recalls
many Baroque and Mannerist examples of architecture in the gardens
of the villas close to the town.
It synthesizes and anticipates the refined and cultured aspects
that show a close relationship between the cultural setting of
Lucca and of the cities of Florence and Rome.
Palazzo Pfanner (17th century) is still property of the family,
but it is opened to the public.
It charms the visitor with the visa vie offered by the building,
with its scenographic stairs and of garden which spreads between
the Palace and city-walls, with a central prospect signed out
by a theory of allegoric statues; in the center is an octagonal
fountain with statues of the four elements emerging from the four
The path ends with the facade of the lemon-house, which establishes
a close relationship with the town visible through the city-walls,
seen from a private prospect, and through some of the important
monuments, (such as the bell tower of San Frediano) visual pivot
of the garden.
The town and its territory are physically and symbolically united
by the city-wall park that makes of Lucca an extensive garden
where Mars is defeated by Nature, and that offers an exceptional
panoramic view on the urban landscape and on the outskirts, where
monuments and secret gardens, churches and villas, are spread
in the spectacular framework of the monumental urban city-walls.