The Lucca's origins between history and culture
The city was founded on a vast area created by the river Auser (now called the Serchio) passage in a region between the Ligurian and Etruscan but little is known about that period which is still the subject of controversy for historians.
What is certain is that in 180 BC Lucca will develop as a 'Roman Empire colony becoming a municipium as important as being the seat of the first triumvirate between Caesar, Pompeo and Crassus in 55 BC. The architectural heritage of the Latin period are immediately noticeable having a walk in the main streets of the old town which reflect the ancient urban layout set by the typical Roman cardo and decumanus corresponding to the current V. Fillungo - Cenami and V. San Paolino - Rome and S. Cross. In addition, to the Roman period, was the first building of the mighty walls, the hole in Piazza San Michele and the beautiful amphitheater.
With the decline of the Roman era, Lucca is selected as the capital of the Lombard Duchy of Tuscia given the strategic location on the Via Francigena pilgrimage from Rome to Canterbury and the presence in the Cathedral of St. Martin of an important relic (which is still the object of worship for all Lucca's people) as the Holy Face.
Lucca medieval town ..
At the end of Lombard rule, Lucca became Carolingian and, during this period, the city started to develop many commercial and textile activities consolidating also in Europe the leading position gained in the Lombard period.
In the twelfth century, the economic boom due to the development of merchants and bankers activities allows Lucca to become a municipality. The city is enriched with new stately buildings, many churches and towers and Lucca became the seat of the Italian Statal Mint too.
In the following years, despite to the difficulties due to the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines, Lucca didn't lose its importance in the medieval Italy and the Ghibelline noble Castruccio Castracani, it becomes a formidable antagonist for expansionist ambitions of Florence. With the loss of Castruccio Castracani, in 1328, Lucca faces a period of anachy undergoing employment of various foreign domination until 1342 where he was subdued to nearby Pisa.
Lord of Lucca in 1400, commissioned the famous Jacopo della Quercia marble sarcophagus in memory of his wife, Ilaria del Carretto.
Thanks to the intervention of the Emperor Charles IV in 1372 Lucca was established as a Republic and shines in trade (manufacture of silk in particular) and art. Here is a brief but enlightened period Signoria with Paul Guinigi reforming the tax system, raise the economy and the city is regaining its strength commercial and artistic. Witness the most famous of this period is the marble sarcophagus of his wife, Ilaria del Carretto, commissioned in 1406 by Paul Guinigi the illustrious sculptor Jacopo della Quercia and kept in the Cathedral of St. Martino.
The republic of Lucca
After this short period of Signoria, the half of '500, Lucca back to being an independent republic and will remain so until 1805 the year in which is formed the Principality of Lucca and Piombino given to Napoleon's sister, Elisa Bonaparte and her husband Felice Baciocchi . At the Congress of Vienna, Lucca became Duchy under Maria Luisa of Bourbon of Spain, which happens to Charles of Bourbon. In 1847, Lucca became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1860 and was finally annexed the Kingdom of Sardinia.