Lucca is an ancient and medieval city founded by the Etruscans. The rectangular grid of its historical center preserves the Roman street plan, and the Piazza San Michele occupies the site of the ancient forum. Traces of the amphitheater still may be seen in the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro.
Remarkably well preserved, Lucca’s narrow streets look much like they did when the ancient Romans established the town in about 180 BC. And the thick walls that encircled Lucca during the Renaissance era stand strong today. Completely intact, they once hosted car races and now serve as a pedestrian walkway. Lucca’s charming center is enclosed by these walls, and brick ramparts from the 15th and 16th centuries preside over the streets. As we explore, we’ll find quiet, tree-lined squares and ancient churches with ornate facades of green, gray, and white marble. Our stroll takes us by the Duomo di San Martino, or St. Martin’s Cathedral, which was originally built in 1063.