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San Michele in Foro

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

P.za San Michele, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Ambra
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit San Michele in Foro during the golden hour to capture the most breathtaking photos of its façade; the soft light accentuates its intricate details. Also, step into a nearby café to enjoy some local pastries, as the area around the church offers some of the best hidden culinary gems, often overlooked by tourists."

What is San Michele in Foro?

San Michele in Foro is a storied and majestic Roman Catholic basilica located in the heart of Lucca, a historic city nestled within Tuscany, Italy. This church stands on what was once the ancient Roman forum, serving as a testament to the city's extensive historical layers. Its stunning façade, adorned with intricate sculptures and inlays, is a marvel of Romanesque architecture that dominates the Piazza San Michele, the lively square where it stands. The basilica is not just a religious site but also an artistic and cultural beacon that draws visitors from around the world, who come to gaze upon its beauty.

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History of San Michele in Foro

The origins of San Michele in Foro stretch back to the days of antiquity, with the first church on this site believed to have been founded as early as the 8th century. However, the construction of the current structure began around the 11th century and continued through the 14th century, reflecting the period's evolving tastes and architectural developments. The church was built to honor the Archangel Michael, a figure of significant importance in Christian iconography, and has since stood the test of time, bearing witness to the ebb and flow of Lucca's fortunes.

Did you know that the church's façade was actually built higher than the structure itself? This peculiar feature was a common practice in Lucca, intended to symbolise the city's wealth and architectural ambition. For the discerning eye, San Michele in Foro reveals the layers of history in its stones and artwork, some of which have faded with time while others remain as vibrant as when they were first completed.

Why is San Michele in Foro Important?

San Michele in Foro is not only important for its religious significance; it also represents an exceptional architectural achievement of the Middle Ages. Its importance is underscored by the way it encapsulates Lucca's historical narrative, serving as a visual storybook of the city's past. The intricate marble work, its height, and the iconic statue of Archangel Michael with his wings unfurled on top of the church are symbols of the city's medieval might and devotion.

The basilica also holds important artworks, including a painting by Filippino Lippi and various sculptural pieces that highlight the crossroads of culture and artistry. Indeed, for those looking beyond the surface, San Michele in Foro offers a deep dive into the spiritual and communal life of Lucca across centuries, reinforcing why it holds a special place in the hearts of locals and the curiosity of visitors alike. Would it surprise you to hear whispers of local legends that have been passed down through generations, adding a layer of mystical allure to this magnificent site?

Things to Do & See at San Michele in Foro

Visiting San Michele in Foro is an experience that engages all the senses. As you step into the cool interior, the vast space is often filled with the echo of footsteps on ancient stone. Art lovers can feast their eyes on the fine details of artworks and the altarpieces that tell stories of faith and history. The church's acoustic properties also occasionally make it a venue for concerts, offering a chance to hear music resonate within these aged walls.

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The beauty of a visit here lies in the details – the columns, each uniquely carved; the play of light on the polychrome marbles; the paintings and sculptures that each have their own tale. I often tell visitors to look up as well, to see the timber roof that is a marvel of medieval carpentry. Outside, the piazza bustles with activity, with cafes and shops offering local treats and souvenirs. You might also time your visit with the local market, adding even more vibrancy to the experience.


Frequently asked questions

What is San Michele in Foro?

San Michele in Foro is a historic Roman Catholic basilica church in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy, built over the ancient Roman forum. It is famous for its unique architecture and the impressive statue of Archangel Michael at the top.

What is the architectural style of San Michele in Foro?

The architectural style of San Michele in Foro is predominantly Romanesque with some Gothic elements, reflecting the various stages of construction and embellishments it underwent from the 11th to the 14th century.

What are the notable features of San Michele in Foro?

Notable features of San Michele in Foro include its richly decorated façade with numerous sculptures, the large statue of Archangel Michael, and its beautiful marble columns that depict various figures and mythical creatures.

Can visitors climb the tower of San Michele in Foro?

As of my knowledge cutoff date, visitors are generally not allowed to climb the tower of San Michele in Foro as it is not open for public access. Visitors should check the latest visitor information before they plan a visit.

Are there guided tours available for San Michele in Foro?

Guided tours may be available for San Michele in Foro, either through the church itself or through local tour operators. Visitors should inquire locally or check online for the most up-to-date tour offerings and schedules.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

P.za San Michele, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps