Palazzo Ducale is a grand palace in the town of Lucca and is located in Fortezza Augusta, which was the residence of Castruccio Castracani. It was designed by Giotto and is a large complex with a beautiful structure that is aptly called a palace. The area occupied by the palace was almost one-fifth of the city but was destroyed in 1370. Later it was restored where Paolo Guinigi resided in 1401. It was also the residence of duchess Elisa Baciocchi till it was occupied by Italy in 1861.
The palace was restored by Bartolomeo Ammannati in 1578. The right wing was built in 1728 by Francesco Pini, who was the pupil of Juvarra. Lorenzo Nottolini also restored it in the 19th century. The palace comprises of a grand central court and comes with double portico with various columns. The center comprises of a statue of Francesco Carrara, which is done by Augusto Passaglia. The inner hall is designed by Nottolini and contains the National Gallery of Lucca. The grand staircase has the gallery of statues at the end. You get to see the painting and fresco of Lucchese freedom. Besides the Loggia delle Guardie above comes with Ammannati Loggia with stuccoes and grotesques. The Palace also houses Paolo Cresci Foundation for History of Italian immigration and the Institution Center Traditions along with the institute for the resistance, letters and arts, the Lucchese academy of sciences, the Risorgimento museum and the institute of Calabresi. It is also the headquarters of the Provincial Government in Lucca. The palace dominates the west side of Piazza Napoleone and by various designers and architects to reconstruct different parts of the palace.
For the tourist interest
Palazzo Ducale also hosts various exhibitions, concerts, meetings and various kinds of activities that promote the history of the city and also showcase contemporary art and creativity of various artists. It’s a beautiful palace and is a huge one. One can also see that it runs parallel to the street to the far end of the street. There are many places of interest near the palace and tourists can enjoy the environment here as it is full of lively people and has shops and restaurants nearby as well. One should also have a few hours to spare to go through the whole property in detail. Situated on the west of the Piazza Napoleon, it has become an integral part of fun and celebrations as well. It is the main spot for entertainment here. The square was used for parking till 1998 and today the area is clean and very vast with many entertainment zones. You can also get to attend concerts or other events if you visit during the festivals or celebrations of the city. Lucca Summer Festival is one of the attractive events organized near Palazzo Ducale. The square is lined with trees that provide the right shade and decoration. There is also a statue of Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, the sister of Napoleon in the center of the square. Palazzo Ducale is right in front of the statue, which makes for a great view.