Cathedral of Saint Martin (Duomo di Lucca) stands tall to represent its past glory and history that is so mystifying and amazing. Since the 6th century the church has gone through various transformations and today, it is the most important tourist attraction where people from all over the world come and visit the place. The church was rebuilt in 1060 and continued its renovation from time to time between 12th and 13 the centuries. This magnificent church with its bell tower has attracted visitors for centuries. The church is dedicated to St. Martin and is regarded as the grandest example of Pisan-Lucchese Romanesque art.
The strategic location
The cathedral is also known as Lucca's Cathedral today and located in a very secluded area of the city’s old center. During the 6th century, the location was actually a central part and very crucial and very much congested as well. It was in fact in the heart of the city at a very strategic point where two main streets meet.
It's a fabulous church that encompasses of a huge structure that has been decorated from time to time with large arches, multiform columns and more. You can find here different architectural styles from different eras in relation to the religious and civil aspects of those times. However, they are simply fascinating as it is built in Gothic-Romanesque style. The portico with the famous three arches was said to be a place where pilgrims traveled and were important for pilgrims that also became a point on the Francigena route. On the facade, there are three arches that are open to the portico sheathed in marble and on it the three tiers of arched loggias that are supported by various little columns with each with unique carvings on it carved by various artists and the best of those times. The carvings are quite elaborate with figures of animals, geometric patterns and vines everywhere making the church look stunning. The statue of St. Martin is quite prominent as everyone can point out. Besides, there is one statue that shows him ripping the clock and giving it to a beggar.
Inside the church are marvelous images, and one is Volto Santo (The Holy Face of Lucca). Yes, the statue of robed Christ is said to be carved in venerated wood by Nicodemus, who was a disciple of Christ and is said to be very close to the face of Christ himself. The wooden statue very well represents the crucifix and is believed that the face of the statue has modeled itself, or they say the angels created it when Nicodemus fell asleep. The tomb of IIaria who was the wife of Lucca ruler of Paola Guinigi is beautifully carved with her image and is accompanied by the dog. The statue was carved by Jacopo della Quercia.
Apart from the statues and paintings inside, the interiors too are worth mentioning as they are masterpieces as well. The interior was largely the work of Matteo Civitali, who created pulpit pavement and holy water stoups. Sacristy inside the church has various statues and arts from the Renaissance period like Tintoretto and Fra Bartolomeo.
An important event takes place on 14th September every year here in Lucca for the protagonists of Holy Cross Celebrations. The streets of the city witnesses a glorious moment when the streets are all lit up with lamps and candles and everyone walks through the streets of the city with the luminaire in place. This enchanting church is a must-see place for tourist if they want to admire fine art and the best architecture of its times.