Italy - Tuscany - Lucca -

Lucca 1

LINKS to other pages in the Italy website and the Colin Day Travelling Days series:

Home Page
1 : Barga
2 : Pisa
3 : Lucca
4 : Portovénere
5 : Florence
6 : Siena
7 : Castelnuovo di Garfagnana
8 : Apuan Alps
9 : Guest Book:


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The valley of the river Serchio (left)

One cannnot today see as much of the Ponte della Maddelena (or Ponte del Diavolo - the Devil's bridge) pictured below as one used to be able due to the dam downstream, but the narrow five arched bridge built in the fourteenth century is, nevertheless, very impressive.

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Sitting on now submerged islets, there are five asymmetrical arches, the largest of which spans 37 metres. The bridge was said to have been built in one night by the Devil himself in exchange for the soul of the first person to cross it the next day. The locals sent a dog (or pig - take your pick) over instead, and the Devil, falling for this, bent the bridge into the wonderful shape it is today. The bridge is to be found a small way upstream from the village of Borgo a Mozzano.

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LUCCA is situated on the river Serchio in a fertile plain near the Ligurian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Lucca.

The city was founded by the Etruscans and became a Roman colony in 180 BC. The rectangular grid of its historical center preserves the Roman street plan. The Piazza San Michele occupies the site of the ancient forum.

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The first span of the walls constructed in the second century BCE was of rectangular shape. They were approximately 8 to 9 metres high and approximately 2,500 metres long and built with blocks of travertine which came from local quarries. The area of the city was 39 hectares and the population at the time was approximately 10,000.

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The city had four gates along the circuit of the walls originally leading to the the two main streets i.e. the "decumanus" linking the east gate of S. Gervasio and the west gate of S. Donato and the "cardo", linking the north gate of S. Frediano and the south gate of S. Pietro. In the second century CE the amphitheatre was erected outside the Roman walls and the theatre was built inside.

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The walls around the old town were kept intact as the city expanded and modernized. As the walls lost their military importance, they became a pedestrian promenade ringing the old town. For a number of years in the 20th century for they were used for car races. They remain intact today, each of the four principal sides being lined with a different tree species.

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The Palazzo Pfanner is a 17th century residence used as the lopcation for the filming of "The Portrait of a Lady' (left)

The visit to Lucca continues on the next page.
Please click on the 'Next' button (lower right).

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