Church of San Michele in Foro

Basilica in Lucca

Church Of San Michele In Foro
CC BY-SA 4.0 / VolleySteff

San Michele in Foro, located in the historic centre of Lucca, is an ancient church with roots dating back to the Roman era. Its existence has been recorded as early as 795, but the present-day building was commissioned by Pope Alexander II in 1070. For almost three centuries, until 1370, it served as the seat of the Major Council and the Podestà, the highest-ranking official in the Government.

The façade of San Michele in Foro showcases the influence of the Pisan Romanesque style, characterized by its imposing height and intricate sculptures. At the pinnacle, a large marble statue depicts the Archangel Michael triumphing over the dragon. According to legend, on sunny days, a green sparkle emanates from the statue, leading some to believe there might be an emerald concealed within it, although the stone has never been found.

Inside the basilica, visitors are greeted by three naves with a transept and a semi-circular apse. The primary nave is supported by arches resting on monolithic columns, while the entire structure is adorned with lunette barrel-vaulted ceilings.

Among the church’s artistic treasures, three remarkable works stand out. Firstly, the “Madonna and Child,” an enamelled terracotta sculpture crafted by Luca della Robbia. Secondly, the “Pala Magrini” painted by Filippino Lippi in 1483, depicting the saints Roch, Sebastian, Jerome, and Helena. Finally, a noteworthy high-relief of the Virgin, sculpted by Raffaello di Montelupo.

San Michele in Foro stands as a testament to Lucca’s rich history and artistic heritage, captivating visitors with its architectural beauty and invaluable art collection.


The Church of San Michele in Foro appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Lucca!

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Visiting Church of San Michele in Foro

Address: Church of San Michele in Foro, Piazza San Michele, Lucca, Province of Lucca, Italy
Duration: 39 minutes

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