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Historical Churches Part I (Self Guided), Lucca

Lucca is a city that has remained intact in its original form, including a variety of architectural buildings like churches and cathedrals. These religious places kept their Medieval value. Lucca is also called “the city of 100 churches” because there are numerous churches in this old town. Take this tour guide to see the aged houses of worship in Lucca.
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Historical Churches Part I Map

Guide Name: Historical Churches Part I
Guide Location: Italy » Lucca (See other walking tours in Lucca)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Author: Dee
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Church of St. Alexander (Chiesa di Sant'Alessandro)
  • Church of Santi Paolino e Donato
  • Church of St. Catherine (Chiesa di Santa Caterina)
  • Church of San Romano
  • The Cathedral of St. Martin
  • Church of San Giovanni
  • Church of San Giusto
  • Church of San Michele
  • Church of San Salvatore
  • Church of Santa Maria Corteorlandini
  • Church of St. Thomas (Chiesa di San Tommaso)
Church of St. Alexander (Chiesa di Sant'Alessandro)

1) Church of St. Alexander (Chiesa di Sant'Alessandro)

Chiesa di Sant'Alessandro is a Roman Catholic parish church, first mentioned in a document dated 893. The building is of the basilica type with features similar to those of local Romanesque architecture, characterised by a sober classicism. The present building, however, contains the structures of an older church, whose date of construction is still a matter of controversy, and whose features are surprisingly close to those of Roman architecture. This church is a rare and good preserved example of medieval classicism, an evidence of survival in Italy, during Dark Ages, of Roman architectural tradition. The small building can be compared only with monuments as the Baptistry in Florence or the Basilica of San Salvatore in Spoleto.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of Santi Paolino e Donato

2) Church of Santi Paolino e Donato

The Church of Santi Paolino e Donato is also known as the Church of San Paolino. It is located on the street with the same name in Lucca. The building was designed in Renaissance style and was re-established in 1515 by architect Baccio da Montelupo. The construction consists of one room, the dome, the façade with three tiers and original paintings and sculptures kept from the Napoleonic suppression. In this Christian church were found the remnants of Saint Paulinus. The dome of the church is unique because of its height.
Church of St. Catherine (Chiesa di Santa Caterina)

3) Church of St. Catherine (Chiesa di Santa Caterina)

The Church of St. Catherine is one of the most significant and originally Baroque-designed buildings in Lucca. The façade is a unique example because of its form. It was renovated between 1738 and 1748 by Francesco Pini. The interior was decorated by Silvestro Giannotti’s paintings. There are also works by John Lazzoni and Giovanni Antonio Cybei, two statues that represent Charity and Purity, as well as some wall paintings and the decoration of the dome representing St. Bartholomew.
Church of San Romano

4) Church of San Romano

The Church of San Romano is located in the square with the same name in Lucca. It is the oldest and most prestigious Dominican convent which is important for the religious and civic life of the city. In 1372, in the single room of the church, there were five chapels built. The exterior of the church was unfinished and lost its importance until 1661 when the internal and external structures of the church were renovated. The remnants of the tombs of noble families from Lucca are still there.
The Cathedral of St. Martin

5) The Cathedral of St. Martin (must see)

The Cathedral of St Martin was begun in 1063 by Bishop Anselm (later Pope Alexander II). The nave and transepts of the cathedral were rebuilt in the Gothic style in the 14th century, while the west front was begun in 1204 and consists of a vast portico of three magnificent arches, and above them three ranges of open galleries adorned with sculptures.

In the nave a small octagonal temple or chapel shrine contains the most precious relic in Lucca, the Volto Santo di Lucca or Sacred Countenance. This cedar-wood crucifix and image of Christ, according to the legend, was carved by his contemporary Nicodemus, and miraculously conveyed to Lucca in 782. Christ is clothed in the colobium, a long sleeveless garment. The chapel was built in 1484 by Matteo Civitali, the most famous Luccan sculptor of the early Renaissance.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of San Giovanni

6) Church of San Giovanni (must see)

The Church of San Giovanni is located in the square with the same name. It was reopened in 1828 for worship though differently than before and soon a reconstruction of the building was underway. The new church consisted of three aisles, supported by columns. The complex, interior decoration is made by Guidetto and composed of different figures that can also be seen in the decorations of the apses. Among the most outstanding effect is the new façade and the ceiling that is beautifully painted.
Church of San Giusto

7) Church of San Giusto

The current edifice of San Giusto, built over a pre-existing one, dates to the second half of the 12th century. It has a nave and two aisles with apses. The façade has a mixed decoration, with white and black stripes in the upper part, forming two small superimposed loggias at the top. The central portal was made by Guidetto's workshop, and, among the other details, includes two twisting atlases (one now partly missing) supporting two protruding lions at the sides of the lunette. The rest of the decoration has vegetable motifs or fantastic creatures. The two roots of the internal archivolt (which has black and white rows like in the upper façade) lay on two cubes with masks of Classic origin. The side portals have less ornate decorations, mostly limited to the capitals and similar to that of the central one. The latter is surmounted by a double mullioned window, while above the side ones are simpler oculi. The apse's exteriors features Lombard bands and two orders of single mullioned windows. The interior was remade during the 17th century in Baroque style.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of San Michele

8) Church of San Michele (must see)

San Michele in Foro is a Roman Catholic basilica church in Lucca, built over the ancient Roman forum. Until 1370 it was the seat of the Consiglio Maggiore (Major Council), the commune's most important assembly. It is dedicated to Archangel Michael. The church is mentioned for the first time in 795 as ad foro (in the forum). It was rebuilt after 1070 by will of Pope Alexander II.

Notable is the façade, from the 13th century, with a large series of sculptures and inlays, numerous of which remade in the 19th century. On the summit, flanked by two other angels, is the 4-meter tall statue of St. Michael the Archangel. According to a legend, an angel's finger would have a huge diamond. On the lower right corner of the façade is a statue (1480) of the Madonna salutis portus, sculpted to celebrate the end of the 1476 plague. The church interior has a nave and two aisles with transept and semicircular apse; the nave is supported by arcades on monolithic columns. From the southern transept rises the bell tower, built in the 12th-14th centuries, with a series of single, double and triple mullioned windows.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church of San Salvatore

9) Church of San Salvatore

The Church of San Salvatore is located in the San Salvatore Square. Though it was built in 1009, it was reestablished much later, in the twelfth century. Some parts of the fine masonry façade were restructured in the nineteenth century. There are also three aisles inside the church, decorated by some high columns which were constructed after the restoration that began in 1808. The entrance of the church is surrounded by stone which is sculpted on the upper side of it.
Church of Santa Maria Corteorlandini

10) Church of Santa Maria Corteorlandini

The Church of Santa Maria Corteorlandini is a medieval church that was reestablished in 1188, restoring the Medieval church decorated by two apses and an arch at the entrance with an arch that is decorated with two lions on the both sides. There are also some paintings of Caravaggio on the aisles. The entire construction shows some characters that belong to the style of the late of twelfth century. The Church of Santa Maria Corteorlandini is one of the most interesting examples of Baroque style.
Church of St. Thomas (Chiesa di San Tommaso)

11) Church of St. Thomas (Chiesa di San Tommaso)

The structure of the Church of St. Thomas was reconstructed between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The construction has a single nave, not including the frontal one, as it is covered with white limestone. The interior has been totally transformed between the seventeenth and eighteenth century. There are also some important paintings of famous painters from Lucca like Sant'Antonio da Padova made by Gian Domenico Ferrucci, and the Predica di San Francesco Saverio made by Antonio Franchi, and others.

Walking Tours in Lucca, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Lucca

Create Your Own Walk in Lucca

Creating your own self-guided walk in Lucca is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
City Gates

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Historical Churches Part II

Historical Churches Part II

Lucca is a marvelous city that keeps the Walled City of Lucca teeming with places of worship. Their original design is retained and beautifully renovated in some of the churches. Take this part of the tour guide to admire the historical and religious buildings of Lucca.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Cultural Venues

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Lucca's Architectural Jewels

Lucca's Architectural Jewels

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Travel Distance: 4.8 Km or 3 Miles
Lucca Introduction Walk

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Palaces Tour

Palaces Tour

As an ancient city of Italy, Lucca has monumental palaces of architectural and historical value. The famous buildings are enriched by marvelous gardens, old statues and originally designed rooms. Take this self-guided tour to enjoy the beauty of the palaces of Lucca.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles