In 2013 the walls of Lucca celebrate their fifth centenary. For it was in 1513 that the government of the Republic of Lucca set in motion the construction of the new circuit of walls that for over a century represented the greatest political and financial effort of the city government. Once completed, the walls definitively affected the morphology of the city, which from then on was associated with the image of massive fortifications.
Using archival documentation and investigating the complex political and institutional organisms that directed the building of the walls, this book reconstructs the living, palpitating sequence of events that is both the history of one Italian city and the history of Europe.
In Roberta Martinelli’s narrative, which unfolds like a compelling story, the walls take on the identity of a mirror of the times: to learn their history helps us not only to understand Lucca and the Lucchesi but also to form an idea of the larger context in which the city has striven to preserve its own integrity.
Conceived and commissioned in order to defend the civic liberty that was threatened by powerful and aggressive neighbours, the walls were for centuries a protective barrier and as such became part of the lived experience of generations of Lucchesi, who still today regard them as a primary asset.