Palazzo Ducale in Lucca

Historic Building and Museum in Lucca

Lucca PalazzoDucale
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Robespierre

Located in the historical center of Lucca, the Palazzo Ducale impressively overlooks one side of Piazza Napoleone with its dignified and elegant facade. Throughout the centuries, the palace has been shaped by numerous prominent figures who governed the city, resulting in the magnificent appearance it boasts today.

The origins of the building trace back to the mid-14th century when it was part of the Augusta, a vast fortification commissioned by Castruccio Castracani, the leader and lord of Lucca. However, after his passing, the city faced invasions by enemy forces, and the castle became a symbol of oppression. When Lucca was definitively liberated in the latter half of the century, the fortress was destroyed, but the palace was spared and transformed into the seat of governmental institutions.

Over the years, the palace underwent several interventions aimed at enhancing its appearance. Notable transformations occurred during the 17th and 19th centuries by architects Bartolomeo Ammannati and Filippo Juvarra, respectively, who gave the building its modern and graceful appearance. These renovations were carried out under the guidance of two influential figures in the city’s history: Princess Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, Napoleon’s sister, and Duchess Maria Luisa di Borbone. Lorenzo Nottolini, another prominent figure, played a crucial role in the completion of the project. Duchess Maria Luisa is also known for her contributions to other works in Lucca, including the Botanical Garden. Today, the Palazzo Ducale serves as the seat of the provincial administration and the Prefettura.

While exploring the Palazzo Ducale, visitors can admire the stunning royal staircase designed by Nottolini, leading to the Parata area where historical rooms are located. These rooms are adorned with magnificent frescoes, with the Throne Room and Sala del Bosco standing out as notable highlights. The Royal Apartments are connected to the grand staircase through the Gallery of Statues, a creation of Maria Luisa of Bourbon, which replaced the original corridor.

The Palazzo Ducale also houses the Risorgimento Museum and the Church of Santa Maria della Rotonda, home to the Cresci Museum for Italian Emigration.

The Palazzo Ducale in Lucca appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Lucca!

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Visiting Palazzo Ducale in Lucca

Address: Palazzo Ducale di Lucca, Cortile Carrara, Lucca, Province of Lucca, Italy
Duration: 20 minutes

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