Lucca boasts unique city walls that have been well preserved, forming a perfect ring around the city: 4 kilometres and 223 metres of imposing embankments planted with trees, making it also a wonderful green space, with centuries-old trees and ornamental species.
The ring that we see today is the last in a series. The first one was a traditional Roman square plan surrounding the city center, built around 200 BC. The second ring of walls dates back to 1100-1200 and almost all the important buildings fell within the walls. With the third ring (1400-1500), which led to the expansion of the northeast side, all the main buildings were included. Construction work on the fourth circle began in 1513 and took more than a century to complete, despite involving citizens who were forcibly recruited! Over the centuries, however, the walls did not suffer any military attacks and were never actually used for military purposes. They were demilitarized during the Napoleonic era and ever since then have been used as public gardens and walkways.
The walls also provide an exceptional panoramic point, with the churches and towers of Lucca on one side and the Apuan Alps on the horizon.