Lucca – Amphitheatre Square

lucca Piazza Anfiteatro

This unique square on the spot where the Ancient Roman amphitheatre originally stood is what is left, along with the few remains that still can be seen, of the presence of the Romans in Lucca, who arrived in about 180 BC and saw the transformation of the town from a “castrum” to a Municipality with the right to mint its own coins. This valuable seat of entertainment with its two rows of arches decorated with a marble covering and columns was built outside the city walls at the beginning of the II century AD and could hold up to 10,000 spectators.

During the Byzantine invasions it was transformed into a fortress, stripped of the marble covering and columns which had embellished it, and then during the medieval period its foundations were used to make houses and the central arena was divided into many small vegetable lots for domestic use.

During the centuries that followed it was used as a prison as well as a salt warehouse and at the beginning of the 18th century it was the public slaughterhouse. It was thanks to Carlo Ludovico who commissioned the famous architect Lorenzo Nottolini to restore the square that the Amphitheatre Square owes its present appearance, highlighting the perfect elliptical shape which makes it so characteristic and the charm of ifs uneven circle of houses of irregular heights, its four entrance gates, its spacious square with the sky above an ideal roof.

Open air fruit and vegetable market for many years, it now hosts the flower market on the 27th April for the festival of Saint Zita and during the Christmas festivities hosts a market of typical local products and artefacts while, occasionally, it acts as the back-drop for important international concerts.

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