Piazza del Suffragio, Lucca
The Church of Santa Giulia is a small, historic religious building located in the historic centre of Lucca - not far from the famous Guinigi Tower - whose origins date back to the Lombard period. Evidence traces it to the 10th century when the church, which was most likely private, was given as a gift to the bishopric; however, the burials found inside testify to its existence as early as the early-mid 7th century.
The building has a sombre Romanesque façade, with Gothic influences added later. Rebuilt in terracotta in the 13th century, the church was covered in marble during the 14th century and finished by Coluccio di Collo. Three arches, two of which are blind, decorate the front wall, while the single door is surmounted by a mullioned window. In addition to the columns that outline the central arch, the only decorations are the small sculptures placed on the side arches which represent women's heads with elongated necks; the one on the right is characterized by two braids and is potentially a representation of Santa Giulia, as she was depicted in the Lombard cult.
Inside, the main altar dates back to the 17th century, when it was rebuilt in order to house an invaluable crucifix that's now preserved in the Cathedral of San Martino.
The veneration of the martyr Giulia had one of its first centres in Lucca thanks to the devotion of the Lombard people.
Today, her cult is also remembered in the Cammino di Santa Giulia: an itinerary that crosses three regions and the city of Lucca, retracing the journey made by saint's relics as they were moved from Gorgona Island to Brescia in the mid-late 13th century at the behest of Ansa, queen and wife of the Lombard king Desiderius.