1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lucca
LUCCA (anc. Luca), a town and archiepiscopal see of Tuscany, Italy, capital of the province of Lucca, 13 m. by rail N.E. of Pisa. Pop. (1901) 43,566 (town); 73,465 (commune). It is situated 62 ft. above the level of the sea, in the valley of the Serchio, and looks out for the most part on a horizon of hills and mountains. The fortifications, pierced by four gates, were begun in 1504 and completed in 164 5, and long ranked among the most remarkable in the peninsula. They are still well preserved and picturesque, with projecting bastions planted with trees.
The city has a well-built and substantial appearance, its chief attraction lying in the numerous churches, which belong in the main to a well-marked basilica type, and present almost too richly decorated exteriors, fine apsidal ends and quadrangular campaniles, in some cases with battlement ed summits, and windows increasing in number as they ascend. In style they are an imitation of the Pisan. It is remarkable that in the arcades a pillar generally occupies the middle of the facade. The cathedral of St Martin was begun in 1063 by Bishop Anselm (later Pope Alexander II.); but the great apse with its tall columnar arcades and the fine campanile are probably the only remnants of the early edifice, the nave and transepts having been rebuilt in the Gothic style in the 14th century, while the west front was begun in 1204 by Guidetto (lately identified with Guido Bigarelli of Como), and “consists of a vast portico of three magnificent arches, and above them three ranges of open galleries covered with all the devices of an exuberant fancy.” The ground plan is a Latin cross, the nave being 273 ft. in length and 84 ft. in width, and the transepts 144 ft. in length. In the nave is a little octagonal temple or chapel, which serves as a shrine for the most precious of the relics of Lucca, a cedar-wood crucifix, carved, according to the legend, by Nicodemus, and miraculously conveyed to Lucca in 782. The Sacred Countenance (Volta Santo), as it is generally called, because the face of the Saviour is considered a true likeness, is only shown thrice a year. The chapel was built in 1484 by Matteo Civitali, a local sculptor of the early Renaissance (1436-1501); he was the only master of Tuscany outside Florence who worked thoroughly in the Florentine style, and his creations are among the most charming works of the Renaissance. The cathedral contains several other works by him-the tomb of P. da Noceto, the altar of S. Regulus and the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto by ]acopo della Quercia. of Siena (described by Ruskin in M odern Painters, ii.), the earliest of his extant works (1406), and one of the earliest decorative works of the Renaissance. In one of the chapels is a fine Madonna by Fra Bartolommeo; in the municipal picture gallery are a fine “ God the Father ” and another Madonna by him; also some sculptures by Civitali, and some good wood carving, including choir stalls. In the cathedral choir is good stained glass of 1485. The church of St Michael, founded in the 8th century, and built of marble within and without, has a lofty and magnificent western facade (1188)-an architectural screen rising much above the roof of the church. The interior is good but rather bare. The church of St Martino at Arliano near Lucca belongs to the first half of the 8th century; it is of basilica plan (see G. T. Rivoira, Origini dell' Architellura Lombardo, iii. [Rome, IQOIl 138). St Frediano or Frigidian dates originally from the 7th century, but was built in the Romanesque style in 1112-1147, though the interior, originally with four aisles and nave, shows traces of the earliest structure; the front occupies the site of the ancient apse; in one of its chapels is the tomb of Santa Zita, patroness of servants and of Lucca itself. In S. Francesco, a fine Gothic church, is the tomb of Castruccio Castracane. San Giovanni (originally of the 12th century), S. Cristoforo, San Romano (rebuilt in the 17th century, by Vincenzo Buonamici), and Santa Maria Forisportam (of the 12th century) also deserve mention.
Among the secular buildings are the old ducal palace, begun in 1578 by Ammanati, and now the residence of the prefect and seat of the provincial officers and the public picture gallery; the early Renaissance Palazzo Pretorio, or former residence of the podesta, now the seat of the civil and correctional courts; the palace, erected in the 15th century by a member of the Guinigi family, of brick, in the Italian Gothic style, and now serving as a poor-house; the 16th-century palace of the marquis Guidiccioni, now used as a depository for the archives, the earliest documents going back to A.D. 790. The Palazzo Mansi contains a collection of Dutch pictures. There are several other ine late 16th-century palaces. The principal market-place in the city (Piazza del M ercato) has taken possession of the arena of the ancient amphitheatre, the outer arches of which can still be seen in the surrounding buildings. The whole building, belonging probably to the early Empire, measured 135 by 105 yds., and the arena 87% by 58 yds. The outline of the ancient theatre can be tracedin the Piazza delle Grazie, and some of its substructure walls are preserved. The ancient forum was on the site of the Piazza S. Michele in the centre of the town; remains of a small public building or shrine were found not far off in 1906 (L. Pernier in N otizie degli Scavi, 1906, p. 117). The rectangular disposition of the streets in the centre of the town is a survival of Roman times. Besides the academy of sciences, which dates from 1584, there are several institutions of the same kind-a royal philomathic academy, aroyal academy of arts and a public library of 50,000 volumes. The archiepiscopal library and archives are also important, while the treasury contains some fine goldsmith's work, including the 14th-century Croce dei Pisani, made by the Pisans for the cathedral.
The river Serchio affords water-power for numerous factories. The most important industries are the manufacture of jute goods (carried on at Ponte a Moriano in the Serchio valley, 6 m. N. of Lucca), tobacco, silks and cottons. The silk manufacture, introduced at Lucca about the close of the 11th century, and in the early part of the 16th the means of subsistence for 30,000 of its inhabitants, now gives employment (in reeling and throwing) to only about 1500. The bulk of the population is engaged in agriculture. The water supply is maintained by an aqueduct built in 1823-1832 with 459 arches, from the Pisan mountains.
The ancient Luca, commanding the valley of the Serchio, is first mentioned as the place to which Sempronius retired in 218 B.C. before Hannibal; but there is some doubt as to the correctness of Livy's statement, for, though there were continual wars with the Ligurians, after this time, it is not mentioned again until we are told that in 177 B.C. a Latin colony was founded there in territory offered by the Pisans for the purpose. It must have become a municipium by the lex Julia of 90 B.C., and it was here that Julius Caesar in 56 B.C. held his famous conference with Pompey and Crassus, Luca then being still in Liguria, not in Etruria. A little later a colony was conducted hither by the triumvirs or by Octavian; whether after Philippi or after Actium is uncertain. In the Augustan division of Italy Luca was assigned to the 7th region (Etruria); it is little mentioned in the imperial period except as a meeting-point of roads-to Florentia (see Clodia, Via), Luna and Pisae. The road to Parma given in the itineraries, according to some authorities, led by Luna and the Cisa pass (the route taken by the modern railway from Sarzana to Parma), according to others up the Serchio valley and over the Sassalbo pass (O. Cuntz in Jahreshefle des ocslerr. arch. Instituts, 1904, 53). Though plundered and deprived of part of its territory by Odoacer, Luca appears as an important city and fortress at the time of N arses, who besieged it for three months in A.D. 553, and under the Lombards it was the residence of a duke or marquis and had the privilege of a mint. The dukes gradually extended their power over all Tuscany, but after the death of the famous Matilda the city began to constitute itself an independent community, and in 1160 it obtained from Welf VI., duke of Bavaria and marquis of Tuscany, the lordship of all the country for 5 m. round, on payment of an annual tribute. Internal discord afforded an opportunity to Uguccione della Faggiuola, with whom Dante spent some time there, to make himself master of Lucca in 1314, but the Lucchesi expelled him two years afterwards, and handed over their city to Castruccio Castracane, under whose masterly tyranny it became “for a moment the leading state of Italy, ” until his death in 1328 (his tomb is in S. Francesco). Occupied by the troops of Louis of Bavaria, sold to a rich Genoese Gherardino Spinola, seized by John, king of Bohemia, pawned to the Rossi of Parma, by them ceded to Martino della Scala of Verona, sold to the Florentines, surrendered to the Pisans, nominally liberated by the emperor Charles IV. and governed by his vicar, Lucca managed, at first as a democracy, and after 1628 as an oligarchy, to maintain “ its independence alongside of Venice and Genoa, and painted the word Libertas on its banner till the French Revolution.” In the beginning of the 16th century one of its leading citizens, Francesco Burlamacchi, made a noble attempt to give political cohesion to Italy, but perished on the scaffold (1548); his statue by Ulisse Cambi was erected on the Piazza San Michele in 1863.f' As a principality formed in 1805 by Napoleon in favour of his sister Elisa and her husband Bacchiocchi, Lucca was for a few years wonderfully prosperous. It was occupied by the Neapolitans in 1814; from 1816 to 1847 it was governed as a duchy by Maria Luisa, queen of Etruria, and her son Charles Louis; and it afterwards formed one of the divisions of Tuscany.
The bishops of Lucca, who can be traced back to 347, received exceptional marks of distinction, such as the pallium in 1120, and the archiepiscopal cross from Alexander II. In 1726 Benedict XIII. raised their see to the rank of an archbishopric, without suffragans.
See A. Mazzarosa, Sloria di Lucca (Lucca, 1833); E. Ridolfi, L'A rte in Lucca studiata uella sua Cattedrale (1882); Guidi di Lucca; La Basilica di S. Michele in Foro in Lucca.
- Some confusion has arisen owing to the similarity of the names Luca and Luna; the theory of E. Bormann in Corp. Inscrip. Latin. (Berlin, 1888), xi. 295 is here followed.