“ Lucca…a compact and admirable little city, the very model of a small pays de Cocagne, overflowing with everything that makes for ease for plenty, for beauty, for interest and good example” (Henry James, “Italian Hours”) .
This quaint and evocative city retains the charm of a small and ancient Italian City State. Over the centuries it has managed to hold on its independence and freedom by adopting an cautious policy.
Having miraculously escaped the devastation of the war, today it boats one of the most extraordinary Tuscan and heritage. The imposing tree-lined Renaissance walls, which totally enclose it, the maze of medieval streets, flange by towers and smart boutiques, the enchanting Romanesque churches and bright inviting squares captivate the visitor who stands in awe of such unexpected beauty.
It is possible to change or extend the city tour including a visit to some of the most beautiful “Palazzi” belonging to the merchants of Lucca
Montecarlo’s urban set-up is organized around parallel and perpendicular main streets, and it is enclosed by fortified walls, towered over by the majestic Belfry of the Collegiate of Sant’Andrea, visible from the whole surrounding plain. Of the fourteenth-century gates placed along the walls there remain Porta Fiorentina (the 15th century Florentina Gate, modified in the 16th century) to the east, the Porticciola (the 14th century Lucca Gate) to the west towards Lucca, which was widened in 1594, while Porta Nuova (or New Gate) to the south was reopened at the end of the sixteenth century.
On the main street, formerly via Grande and today Via Roma, we encounter the Collegiate Church of Sant’Andrea. In nearby via Carmignani we find the Municipal Theatre of the Rassicurati. The well-preserved town walls, attached to the fortress, can be still admiredtoday. These walls also include the three main town gates.