Travel

A City of 100 Churches- Lucca, Italy

Okay, I only have two for you. Lucca is a town of gothic churches, 100 of them reportedly, and the home of Madam Butterfly composer Giacomo Puccini.

By now you ought to know that I love Italy. Much more than France. I love Florence much more than Paris. Paris is beautiful, I’ll always give it that, but Florence is magical. The road to Florence is beautiful and paved with fantasies and dreams. On our way to Florence we stopped over at Lucca for a night because when you are going to Florence you must take the detours.

Lucca is an old walled town with cobbled little roads and beautiful squares. Medieval architecture, charming landscape, and churches. In other words, my kind of town. It is like living in a cocoon you never want to leave for the time you are in it. The surrounding walls go far back as the 17th century and stands true today. The main square, Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is shaped like an amphitheatre surrounded by old buildings some restored, homes and restaurants and perfect for people watching.

Located on a flat terrain it is a walk friendly city and you can walk the length and breadth in one day if you have other things to do and all roads lead to the main square. Of the hundred churches I only saw two sadly, my sister took ill and we had to go back to the hotel but it is enough to make me want to go back. Basilica of San Frediano, located in Piazza San Frediano and dedicated to Saint Fridianus an Irish bishop of Lucca, is a medieval basilica with a huge mosaic on the front, as shown above, depicting the resurrection of Christ. Most notable about the basilica is the large baptismal right at the entrance. San Michele in Foro on the other hand is a more impressive building, that dates back to the 8th century with such stunning detail arches and inlays with a sculpture of Saint Michael the archangel at the top. Sit on the steps and soak in the atmosphere of the square.

The little walk opposite Saint Michele in Foro leads to Puccini’s house now a museum that houses his most famous musical Madam Butterfly. Lucca is a wonderful little town, you are transported to another world, a different time, reminded of what men built and how life was lived. I love this place and I will be back to see all those churches.