Lucca's old city area is full of historic churches that are open to visitors daily, free of charge. Most of these churches date back to the 12th and 13th century, built in the region's popular Pisan Romanesque style, and it's easy to locate them on the city maps published by the tourist office. During our day in Lucca, after stopping by the most popular churches, we visited the little church of San Paolino (the only church in Lucca dating back to the Renaissance, dedicated to the city's patron saint), the church of San Francesco, Santa Maria Forisportam and San Micheletto. If you're looking to get away from the crowds - not that Lucca ever seems to get too crowded - going on a church hunt across the city can be a fun "off the beaten path" activity. I especially enjoyed the fact that it allowed us to discover some of the city's lovely little streets we might not have seen otherwise.
This church was built at the end of the 12th century and lies close to the main street that runs through Lucca - Via San Croce. Its name, Forisportam, means "outside the gate" as it lies beyond the Roman walls. The unfinished marble facade, in Pisan-Romanesque style, has blind arcading. Above the central portal is a relief of the "Coronation of the Virgin". The interior was redesigned in the early 16th century, resulting in the nave and transepts being raised.
This square is called also "Piazza della Colonna Mozza" (of the Cleaved Column) beacuse there is a single column without the capital. This column was used in the old "Palio of Lucca" when a flag (the "palio") was hooked on it.
On a side of the square there is the church of Santa Maria Forisportam. The facade is similar to other churches in Lucca, with several rows of marble columns. For its position in certain moment of the day (it depends from the period of the year, but it's from 11 am to 2 pm) the sun creates some delighful shadows through the columns.
Lucca has numerous beautiful churches all around town. All of them have something special, something interesting that attract you. All of them are masterpieces of arts. Here on the photos is just one of them… Santa Maria Forisportam, but there are many others that are really worth visit!