The Walls of Lucca

by john on January 6, 2007


In my entry 2006 Cities I included Lucca, a small Italian city near Pisa. Amy and I spent a night there this summer as part of our Italian trip, which was a 10-year anniversary, 2nd honeymoon vacation.

Long time reader and fellow blogger Robert K. Brown posted a comment to that article about the coincidence of him reading it around the same time he found a journal documenting his own trip to Lucca. As Robert is a much better writer than me, I thought I’d include here his own words about the famed Walls of Lucca, and include a few photographs as well.

From my journal, since it’s suddenly handy:

The walls of Lucca. Again, I found myself impressed by both their stature and their perfect condition. Giovanni told us that it took 200 years to build them, and were finished sometime in the 1500’s (the date 1560 sticks out in my mind). Lucca was never attacked. The walls were so formidable, and so well-engineered, that it was deemed a futile cause. 30-40 feet thick, probably 30 feet high, ranging a good 4 km around the city. There is a two lane road atop the wall, now, lined with trees. Cars are no longer allowed on top of the wall; it’s actually a pretty nice jogging path now.

But the defense system was amazing. The “U” — where the wall seems to come back in on itself — held cannons. They would protect the length of the wall. Also, one could be able to put together a sortie of men, protected in the alcove between the walls, and do additional battle with the enemy, if necessary. The large block in the middle of the “U” created two narrow passageways into a more expansive alcove, hence only a few men could defend it from vastly superior numbers. Dad was suitably impressed.

In addition to the heretofore mentioned defenses, the grass fields outside of the city were below the water level of the small moat. Thus, the grass could be flooded to create a marsh upon which no seige weapons could be brought. Quite the marvelous feat of engineering.

View from atop the wall:

Going into the U section of the wall:

A couple of views inside the wall:


On top of the wall:

It really is quite impressive, I only wish we had more time to explore the city.

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