Cattedrale di San Martino
Lucca-born sculptor and architect Matteo Civitali (1436-1501) spent most of his life working on churches and villas in and around in his...
Museo della Cattedrale
Next door to the cathedral, this museum safeguards elaborate gold and silver decorations made for the cathedral's Volto Santo, including...
In the north transept of Chiesa e Battistero dei SS Giovanni e Reparata is a baptistry crowning an archaeological area comprising five...
Teatro del Giglio
Don't let the tacky plastic-covered pavement terrace on Lucca's largest pedestrian city square deter. Inside, Giglio is stunning. Dine...
Piazza San Martino · interesting places nearby
Cattedrale di San Martino information
Lucca's predominantly Romanesque cathedral dates to the start of the 11th century. Its stunning facade was constructed in the prevailing Lucca-Pisan style and designed to accommodate the pre-existing campanile (bell tower). The reliefs over the left doorway of the portico are believed to be by Nicola Pisano.
The cathedral interior was rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries with a Gothic flourish. The Volto Santo (literally, Holy Countenance) is not to be missed. Legend has it this simply fashioned image of a dark-skinned, life-sized Christ on a wooden crucifix was carved by Nicodemus, who witnessed the crucifixion. In fact, it has recently been dated to the 13th century. A major object of pilgrimage, the sculpture is carried through the streets every 13 September at dusk during the Luminaria di Santa Croce , a solemn torchlit procession marking its miraculous arrival in Lucca.
The cathedral's many other works of art include a magnificent Last Supper by Tintoretto above the third altar of the south aisle and Domenico Ghirlandaio's 1479 Madonna Enthroned with Saints. This impressive work by Michelangelo's master is currently located in the sacristy . Opposite lies the exquisite, gleaming marble memorial to Ilaria del Carretto carved by Jacopo della Quercia in 1407. The young second wife of the 15th-century lord of Lucca, Paolo Guinigi, Ilaria died in childbirth aged only 24. At her feet lies her faithful dog.