The Walls of Lucca as they were …How many are the walled cities in Italy? Many, but few like Lucca. It can boast as many as four walls that defended it and a good part of which is still preserved today.
The first dates back to Roman times and was quadrangular in shape, perhaps eight or nine meters high, which ran along the current Via della Rosa, the Guardian Angel, Mordini, the Asili, San Giorgio, Galli Tasso, San Domenico, the Cittadella and Corso Garibaldi.
It was built in large limestone blocks and a part is visible inside the church of Santa Maria della Rosa.
There were four doors that opened there, of which the one in the north called Porta San Frediano, which gave access to the Clodia and the Cassia towards Parma
Equipped with a drawbridge that spanned the moat flanked by two lateral towers.
The third wall dates back to the 16th century and was built with towers that delimited a further portion of the north-east side while to the south and west it was limited to building large circular towers along the old fortifications.
Finally, the fourth circle, the one that can still be seen and walked on. Its construction has taken a century of work and the reason why it is soon said extends to 4200 meters.
It had eleven ramparts, twelve curtain walls, an external moat with a relative embankment and “mezzelune”.
A colossal work, for which the private citizens concurred with contributions of dozens of stone carts.
Artillery was placed behind the mounds of the ramparts, 126 cannons remained here until the Austrians arrived.
Between the doors of San Donato, San Pietro and Santa Maria a fourth door called Porta Elisa was opened by Napoleon’s sister.
Porta San Jacopo and Porta Sant’Anna were opened in more recent times. Curiosity: the majestic fortification never served to defend the city from enemy attacks.
It was useful when in 1812 a flood would have swept away Lucca, which was instead preserved thanks to its “defense”.
Elisa Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister, attempted to return to the city and, due to flooding, had to be hoisted with a crane above the walls.