Lucca, with it’s thick city walls and winding narrow streets, comes across first and foremost as a medieval city. However if you move outside the walls, especially in the area to the east of the station, along Viale Giuseppe Giusti (see my map of the town), there are a few handsome examples of Stile Liberty architecture, the Italian variant of Art Nouveau.
The first building you come to walking east along the ringroad is Palazzo Giorgi. Built in 1912, the architect was Virginio Paolinelli.
A little further along is Villa Simonini at 373 Viale Giuseppe Giusti. Built between 1909 and 1916 it is the work of Lucca architect Gaetano Orzali.
I particularly like the wrought iron gates which were designed by Orzali.
Right next door is Villa Del Magro at 331 Viale Giuseppe Giusti. It was built in 1912 by its owner, the engineer Daniele Del Magro although parts of the building were renvoated in 1920 by Gaetano Orzali.
The majolica panels between the windows, depicting ducks in flight, are the work of the nationally famous Tuscan ceramist Galileo Chini who I first encountered in neighbouring Viareggio (post here).
While there are no actual Stile Liberty buildings that I’m aware of within the city walls, there are several lovely shopfronts along the streets.
Galliani at 23 Via Roma sells porcelain and glassware, including Murano chandeliers. The shop dates back to the early 1900s.
The bakery Forno a Vapore Amedeo Giusti at 20 Via Santa Lucia has a nice Art Nouveau floral design on its sign. I understand their focaccia is very good.
Just a few doors down, Pasticceria Buccellato Taddeucci is a tradtional pastry shop at 34 Piazza San Michele. Buccellato is a traditional sweet bread loaf with sultanas and aniseed seeds which has been made in Lucca since 1881.
Profumeria Venus at 65 Via Fillungo (a former perfumery, now a pharmacy) has some lovely bas-reliefs either side of its main window.
This is Banca Nazionale Del Lavoro on the west side of Piazza San Michele.
The jewellery store Gioielleria Antica Pellegrini at 111 Via Fillungo is another lovely old shop.
And many of the other shops signs seem to date from that era.
There are more Stile Liberty buildings to be discovered in Lucca, but I’ve left them for next time.
A look at Lucca’s churches next…