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Lucca

Lucca (lōkˈkä) [key], city (1991 pop. 87,100), capital of Lucca prov., Tuscany, N central Italy, near the Ligurian Sea. It is a commercial and industrial center and an agricultural market (olive oil, wine, and tobacco). Manufactures include textiles (especially silk), paper, and food products. A Ligurian settlement, later a Roman town, Lucca became (6th cent.) the capital of a Lombard duchy and (12th cent.) a free commune, which soon developed into a republic. In spite of ruthless strife between Guelphs and Ghibellines and frequent wars (especially with Pisa and Florence) the city prospered. Its bankers and merchants were noted throughout Europe, as were its velvets and damasks. The arts also flourished after the 12th cent.; Lucchese sculpture reached its zenith in the 15th cent. with Matteo Civitali, whose fine works adorn the cathedral. Numerous churches, showing Pisan influence, were built from the 12th to the 14th cent. Save for short periods of rule by foreign powers and by tyrants (notably, Castruccio Castracani), Lucca remained an independent republic until Napoleon I made it a principality (1805) for his brother-in-law, Felice Baciocchi, and his sister Elisa. In 1817, Lucca became part of the duchy of Parma and in 1847 of the grand duchy of Tuscany; in 1860 it was annexed to the kingdom of Sardinia. The cathedral (11th–15th cent.) and the churches of San Frediano (begun in the 6th cent.) and San Michele (12th cent.) have fine marble facades. The city's ramparts (16th–17th cent.) are also notable.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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