History of Lucca
Lucca was founded in the 3rd century BC by the Etruscans, a civilization of ancient Italy that ruled most of what we now call Tuscany. Later, it became a Roman colony in 180 BC. Much of the Roman influence can still be seen today. For example, the rectangular grid of the city center still displays the Roman street plan, Piazza San Michele holds the sight of the ancient Roman forum, and traces of the amphitheater can still be seen today in the Piazza dell' Anfiteatro. Lucca was even the location where Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus reaffirmed their political alliance known as the 1st triumvirate. As far as Roman history goes, there is no shortage of Roman architecture and culture within the famous walled city.
The walls encircling the town remain intact, unusual for Italian cities post modernization. These immense walls were initially built as a defensive rampart during the Renaissance in order to safeguard from neighboring rivals, such as Florence and most notably, Pisa. However, once the walls lost their military importance, they became a promenade for pedestrians to exercise, bike, and even to enjoy fine dining. Today, residents can enjoy a plethora of activities, such as outdoor yoga, public parks, historical museums, and local festivals.
Lucca is the birthplace of the famous composer Giacomo Puccini, who has been called the greatest composer of Italian opera. Such works as La Bohème and Madama Butterfly have performed in theaters all over the world, even to this day. Music is extremely important to the Lucchesi. In fact, Lucca holds the Lucca Summer Festival every July, where acts and artists such as Elton John, Macklemore, Tony Bennet, and Imagine Dragons perform outside in the Piazza Napoleone.