According to tradition it was Saint Frediano himself—an Irish man who served as Bishop of Lucca—who founded this church which was originally dedicated to Saint Vincenzo. The church is first mentioned in 685 as “basilica Longobardorum.” It gained importance in the second half of the 12th century when it became an important center for the diffusion of the reform of the Gregorian liturgy. The facade boasts a rare Romanesque-period mosaic from the 13th century (the only other example in Tuscany is the Church of San Miniato in Florence.) It presents Christ the Redemptor ascending to heaven in a mandorla held aloft by two angels. The figure of the Virgin is missing at the center of the Apostles, replaced by a modern window. The style of the mosaic can be defined as Byzantine and it is attributable to the Lucchese School of Berlinghieri.
The interior of the church is divided in three naves, separated by two magnificent colonnades with regularly spaced arches. The aisles hold a series of chapels built between the 14th and 16th centuries. The most significant of these from an art historical point of view is the Chapel of San Agostino, with frescoes by the Emiliano painter Amico Aspertini (1474-1552), and the Tenta Family Chapel with works by the Sienese sculptor Jacopo della Quercia (1374-1438.) The baptismal font dates to the 12th century and is found in the baptistery, to the right of the entrance. The beautiful reliefs represent the Story of Moses, the Apostles and the Months, works that have been attributed to masters of the Tuscan and Lombard schools.
Source: Comune di Lucca