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Itineraries
The places of Giacomo Puccini in Lucca

An itinerary in ten stages in the birthplace of the great composer

A fascinating itinerary to walk in the historical center of Lucca, around the places where Giacomo Puccini was born, raised and trained and where he left his permanent traces. The same places where, before him, his ancestors had started the Puccini ‘musical’ dynasty, whose notes still often resound in the streets of the town.
All you need to follow this path is a pair of comfy shoes and the desire to explore the historical center of Lucca. The itinerary can be tackled in any season and along the route, you’ll probably find a café, an ice-cream parlor or a traditional restaurant, where you can rest and have a meal, maybe just before climbing the 230 steps of the Guinigi Tower. 

Itinerary by puccinilands.it

 

1.
Stage 1
Birthplace of Giacomo Puccini

Our itinerary starts from Giacomo Puccini’s Birthplace, in Corte San Lorenzo, the terziere district of San Paolino (Piazza della Cittadella, where the bronze statue made by artist Vito Tongiani is located). The house is now the museum that collects documents, memories, thoughts and atmospheres of the intense life the composer lived in Lucca, until he moved to Milan.

Our itinerary starts from Giacomo Puccini’s Birthplace, in Corte San Lorenzo, the terziere district of San Paolino (Piazza della Cittadella, where the bronze statue made by artist Vito Tongiani is located). The house is now the museum that collects documents, memories, thoughts and atmospheres of the intense life the composer lived in Lucca, until he moved to Milan.

Starting from: 
Corte S. Lorenzo, 9, 55100 Lucca LU
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2.
Stage 2
Church of St. Paolino

This church dedicated to St. Paolino (Via San Paolino, 128) can be reached in a few minutes walking along the street of the same name, just on the right. This is the only fully Renaissance church in Lucca and is dedicated to St. Paulinus of Antioch, the first bishop of Lucca, who was sent here by St. Peter to evangelize these territories. The Church of St. Paolino was the parish of the Puccini family and right here the young Giacomo debuted as an author with an essay for the end of the academic year. 

This church dedicated to St. Paolino (Via San Paolino, 128) can be reached in a few minutes walking along the street of the same name, just on the right. This is the only fully Renaissance church in Lucca and is dedicated to St. Paulinus of Antioch, the first bishop of Lucca, who was sent here by St. Peter to evangelize these territories. The Church of St. Paolino was the parish of the Puccini family and right here the young Giacomo debuted as an author with an essay for the end of the academic year. 

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Stage 3
Church of St. Michele in Foro

Taking Via San Paolino back towards Piazza della Cittadella and going beyond it, we arrive in Piazza San Michele, where the homonymous church is situated: here the young Giacomo gave organ lessons to his only pupil. The Church of St. Michele in Foro is located in the site of the ancient Roman Forum, which was the center of the city and a place of public gatherings and trade. Its façade, characterized by columns of polychrome marble is a real masterpiece.

Taking Via San Paolino back towards Piazza della Cittadella and going beyond it, we arrive in Piazza San Michele, where the homonymous church is situated: here the young Giacomo gave organ lessons to his only pupil. The Church of St. Michele in Foro is located in the site of the ancient Roman Forum, which was the center of the city and a place of public gatherings and trade. Its façade, characterized by columns of polychrome marble is a real masterpiece.

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Stage 4
Via Fillungo

From Piazza San Michele, along Via Roma, you reach the very central Via Fillungo, the street considered as the ‘living room’ of Lucca and has always been the shopping center of the city. At the time of Puccini, the street was dotted with beautiful Art Nouveau-style shop windows, which in some cases it is still possible to recognize, especially where the signs have been kept. It is worth stopping at Antico Caffè di Simo (Via Fillungo, 58), where the composer loved to spend his time with many other artists.

From Piazza San Michele, along Via Roma, you reach the very central Via Fillungo, the street considered as the ‘living room’ of Lucca and has always been the shopping center of the city. At the time of Puccini, the street was dotted with beautiful Art Nouveau-style shop windows, which in some cases it is still possible to recognize, especially where the signs have been kept. It is worth stopping at Antico Caffè di Simo (Via Fillungo, 58), where the composer loved to spend his time with many other artists.

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Stage 5
Church of St. Pietro Somaldi

Continuing along Via Fillungo, past the church of St. Frediano (Piazza San Frediano), whose façade is decorated with an extraordinary Byzantine-style mosaic dedicated to the Ascension of Christ, turn right into Via Busdraghi to reach Piazza San Pietro Somaldi. Here the church preserves the organ that Puccini, after becoming a famous composer, financed to be restored, putting his handwritten signature on a side and that is still visible today.

Continuing along Via Fillungo, past the church of St. Frediano (Piazza San Frediano), whose façade is decorated with an extraordinary Byzantine-style mosaic dedicated to the Ascension of Christ, turn right into Via Busdraghi to reach Piazza San Pietro Somaldi. Here the church preserves the organ that Puccini, after becoming a famous composer, financed to be restored, putting his handwritten signature on a side and that is still visible today.

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Stage 6
Piazza Anfiteatro

From Piazza San Pietro Somaldi it is possible to reach one of the most famous squares in Lucca, Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, with its unmistakable oval shape. The square was once a Roman amphitheater and the houses that today enclose the ancient arena were built exactly on its stands. Until a few decades ago, the square hosted shops and markets. Today it is an appreciated and evocative meeting point, where you can find cafés and restaurants.

From Piazza San Pietro Somaldi it is possible to reach one of the most famous squares in Lucca, Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, with its unmistakable oval shape. The square was once a Roman amphitheater and the houses that today enclose the ancient arena were built exactly on its stands. Until a few decades ago, the square hosted shops and markets. Today it is an appreciated and evocative meeting point, where you can find cafés and restaurants.

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Stage 7
Guinigi Tower

Leaving the southern gate of the square, from Via Canuleia we glimpse the plume of holm oaks at the top of the Guinigi Tower, another symbol of Lucca. The tower belonged to one of the most powerful families in Lucca, the Guinigi. It is possible to reach the top (“only” 280 steps) to admire an extraordinary panorama over the whole city and beyond. At the foot of the Tower, we turn onto Via Sant’Andrea and then Via Sant’Anastasio.

Leaving the southern gate of the square, from Via Canuleia we glimpse the plume of holm oaks at the top of the Guinigi Tower, another symbol of Lucca. The tower belonged to one of the most powerful families in Lucca, the Guinigi. It is possible to reach the top (“only” 280 steps) to admire an extraordinary panorama over the whole city and beyond. At the foot of the Tower, we turn onto Via Sant’Andrea and then Via Sant’Anastasio.

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Stage 8
‘Luigi Boccherini’ Conservatory of Music

The final part of Via Sant’Anastasio is flanked by the large building that today hosts the ‘Luigi Boccherini’ Conservatory of Music (Piazza del Suffragio, 6) As a young student, Giacomo Puccini studied and graduated in this place, when the Conservatory was called ‘Istituto Pacini’. The Conservatory’s library contains some interesting documents in what is known as the ‘Puccini Fund’.

The final part of Via Sant’Anastasio is flanked by the large building that today hosts the ‘Luigi Boccherini’ Conservatory of Music (Piazza del Suffragio, 6) As a young student, Giacomo Puccini studied and graduated in this place, when the Conservatory was called ‘Istituto Pacini’. The Conservatory’s library contains some interesting documents in what is known as the ‘Puccini Fund’.

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Stage 9
Cathedral of St. Martino

Leaving the Conservatory behind and walking along Via Santa Croce, Piazza Bernardini, Corte del Gallo and then Via del Battistero, we arrive at the Cathedral of St. Martino. This is the heart of Lucca’s spiritual life and a fundamental stop of the Via Francigena, it was founded by St. Frediano in the 6th century, but was completed only in the 16th and 17th centuries. The church houses various treasures, including the funeral monument of Ilaria del Carretto, the Sacra Conversazione by Ghirlandaio, the Last Supper by Tintoretto and the altarpiece by Fra’ Bartolomeo. However, the cathedral’s real ‘treasure’ is the Holy Face, the wooden crucifix that according to a legend, was carved by Nicodemus and the angels.

Leaving the Conservatory behind and walking along Via Santa Croce, Piazza Bernardini, Corte del Gallo and then Via del Battistero, we arrive at the Cathedral of St. Martino. This is the heart of Lucca’s spiritual life and a fundamental stop of the Via Francigena, it was founded by St. Frediano in the 6th century, but was completed only in the 16th and 17th centuries. The church houses various treasures, including the funeral monument of Ilaria del Carretto, the Sacra Conversazione by Ghirlandaio, the Last Supper by Tintoretto and the altarpiece by Fra’ Bartolomeo. However, the cathedral’s real ‘treasure’ is the Holy Face, the wooden crucifix that according to a legend, was carved by Nicodemus and the angels.

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Stage 10
Teatro del Giglio

Leaving the Cathedral, we reach Piazza del Giglio and its theater, inaugurated in 1675 at the behest of the Council of the Republic of Lucca. Throughout the 19th century, it hosted the best companies on the Italian scene. On his return to Lucca as a famous composer, Giacomo Puccini personally attended the staging of his works, from Edgar to the Fanciulla del West, and also here, in his Lucca, was applauded and appreciated.

Leaving the Cathedral, we reach Piazza del Giglio and its theater, inaugurated in 1675 at the behest of the Council of the Republic of Lucca. Throughout the 19th century, it hosted the best companies on the Italian scene. On his return to Lucca as a famous composer, Giacomo Puccini personally attended the staging of his works, from Edgar to the Fanciulla del West, and also here, in his Lucca, was applauded and appreciated.

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