Oct14

Lucca's Fortified Enceinte

If, as psychologists have been trying to convince us for years, war is merely the collective expression of mankind's fears,

then Le Mura, The Walls, must have been built at Lucca, in the shadow of a stark terror, indeed, one cast over several generations. No other motive could possibly have sustained such an astonishing human effort - an enceinte, four and a third kilometres in circumference, with three gat es and eleven bastions, built around the city in an almost continuous campaign that took over 150 years to complete, some forty years longer than its contemporary, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Each of the estimated six million hand-made bricks in this massive fortification could very easily represent a pang of well-founded fear or a sleepless night for the Lucchese citizens whose taxes paid for them throughout the Cinque cento - crippling taxes paid in the hope of preserving the survival of their venerable republic in north-western Tuscany.

Le Mura was the centrepiece of a century-long military build-up by this tiny city-state during its lopsided 'cold wa r' with Florence, a much larger neighbour to the east, that presented one of the most serious threats to the liberty of the Republic of Lucca since, Henry IV, the Holy Roman Emperor, declared it an independent commune and an Imperial city by charter in 1081.

 

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Article and Image Source: fsgfort.com

Author: Raymond E Role

Keywords: Lucca, Fortifications, Walls, Italy, History, Architecture

 

Author:
Raymond E Role
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