Lucca is known as the city of a hundred churches. Inside the Renaissance walls collects a rich heritage of religious architecture, small oratories, private chapels of noble palaces and large churches, architectural and artistic heritage, as well as religious.
Three great churches, among others, tell of the centuries of the Middle Ages, a period far from dark, but rich and fruitful for the history, economy and culture of the city, large movements of people and cultures. The Lombards and then the Carolingian, the Goths from the north and from the east those monks who, according to legend, brought with them 'the little worms that produce silk and the good fortune of Lucca and that will produce an original culture and rich as summarized in an illustrated story on the facades of churches.
The Church of St. Michael and St. Martin's Cathedral collect suggestions of all times and known place. Colonnades between oriental and Nordic designs, some want to see the drawings of plots and warps beaten by the famous weavers from Lucca: brocades, damasks, flamed.
St. Michael's church stands on the spot from where the city itself: l`antico forum of the Roman city, from which arose the thistle and the decumanus maximus, the streets They ordered the Roman city fabric that still survive in the path of the roads on the south and on the back side of the church. Coeval with the church of St. Martin, however, has a more harmonious design, proportions educated, erudite citations in the shapes and decorations. On the front they are chasing in inlays, bas-reliefs, sculptures, many Christian symbols and pre-Christians, the Masons symbols, esoteric and scientific symbols. Animals and plants, humans, historical and mythological, heedless sirens, archers, griffins. On the summit, between two angels, the great statue of Saint Michael, Saint, Archangel and warrior, slaying the Dragon. One is struck, as happened to the poet Ruskin in his visit to Lucca, to see them together portraits of Count Cavour, the great poet Dante placed at the top of the columns during the first nineteenth-century restoration. On the south side, even medieval graffiti of ships and cities of the East testify to the use of the square as a market. It is not time wasted devote some 'time and curiosity.
The surrounding square is the result of a nineteenth-century accommodation.
More concrete and dynamic design of the cathedral of San Martino that collects in the rich iconography, images of everyday life: the journey of the pilgrims, the work of the courts, businesses that carry the name of Lucca in all future Europe. the St. Martin's cathedral is a casket for two treasures: the crucifix Holy Face, crucifix carved in dark wood, devotional icon, miraculous image, place of pilgrimage, a symbol of Lucca and protection wherever they are in the world and the white of the sarcophagus of Ilaria Carretto masterpiece of scultoreJacopo della Quercia.
The chiurch is named afterSan Martino from Tour who become famous for the episode of the cloak shared with the poor, promptly reported on the facade with the largest equestrian sculpture that up to '600 was decked out to celebrate, in fact, the name day and" the summer of San Martino "(November 11).
The façade is a more complex version of the San Michele, with obvious asymmetries, volumes that intersect, contrast of full and empty. On the facade, in the corner, the "portrait" dell`architetto Guido author of the fourteenth-century renovation. Easier to locate the mystical labyrinth carved, always on the facade, as a vote, a profession of faith, a reminder of the passage of pilgrims on their way to Rome. The interior is a precious chest that holds what is most dear to Lucca: the Holy Face. The wooden crucifix miraculously come inside Lucca Walls is l`oggetto greater devotion of Lucca. In his honor is held every September, the procession of the Illuminations, which are taking part, as always, all of Lucca Lucca "Drento and Fora".
The company makes the beautiful Ilaria del Carretto. The sarcophagus, currently preserved in the sacristy, is a tribute of the husband, Paolo Guinigi, Lord of the city in the '400, for the ocassion of his untimely death.
The Basilica of San Frediano, finally, the most austere and tradition-bound, cites the East in the basilica plan and the great mosaic, guards the body of the little Zita, the holy of the flowers, which in the Divine Comedy symbolizes Lucca welcoming and generous.
Sober and imposing, austere forms that recall the ancient Roman basilicas. A large but fine mosaic is the only decoration of the façade, the bell tower with battlements Guelph acts as his background.
The stylish and bright interior is the guardian of the cult of San Frediano, often presented as had a dominion over matter: moves rivers and huge stones with the sole empire of his word. The river is the Serchio, as is illustrated in the left chapel. The stone is the large canteen, now leaning against the wall in the main altar. At the entrance of the church it is placed the beautiful baptismal font in the Romanesque style. A large stained bath by two different authors with scenes from the life of Moses, which proceed in a lively narrative and fast. Calmer and mysterious figures, which occupy the space ordered to an architecture in which some read the symbols of the planets, those of other virtues. At the center of the cup and the lid with representations of the months and the apostles.
In the nearby chapel, you can pay a visit to Santa Zita. The small Santa dei Fiori, lived in Lucca in the thirteenth century and mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy as an example of Lucca "honest". His body was miraculously preserved and is kept inside a glass case. Along the walls, the story of the life of the saint and the numerous miracles. The best known, in which his faith turned the bread into flowers is the one that inspires the celebrations in his honor, April 27.