Pre-roman period
Roman period
Medioeval age
Guinigi family
the towers
Elisa Bonaparte
The architects
Walls and Garden
Teatro del Giglio
The musicians
The holy face
The saints
The writers

The walls of Lucca

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 park.
The trees planted since the building of the military structure, for functional-strategic purposes, have been replaced by broad leafy trees to shade the promenade.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 gardens.
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 visual tour.
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 outdoor.
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 sides.

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.

  Comune di Lucca, texts