Let's start our walk from Palazzo Pretorio, to learn about the history of the Office above Honesty.
Throughout the High Middle Ages and the early Modern Age, Florence and Tuscany were known throughout Europe as a city of easy morals in which homosexuality was common. In 1420, this widespread thought led San Bernardino to speak out against the sodomy that "afflicted" the region. This was potentially the reason why a unique magistracy was established in Lucca.
The Office above Honesty, more commonly referred to as the Court of Sodomites, had the task of repressing this "nefarious vice" that was spreading through the territories of Lucca.
According to the Chronicles of Giovanni Sercambi, there were 43 convictions in Lucca in 1556 and 20 in 1579. The seat of this court was the Palazzo del Podestà, what is today the Palazzo Pretorio in via Vittorio Veneto. The palazzo was erected in 1370 as the seat of the court and then, following extension works, it became the residence of the Podestà of Lucca. Today it houses the headquarters of the Serchio River Basin Authority and the Lucca Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts.
To learn more, we recommend reading the essay titled "Office above Honest - The control of sodomy in 16th-century Lucca" , written by Umberto Grassi.