San Michele in Foro, Lucca

4.5 out of 5 stars 18 Reviews

Piazza San Michele

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  • San Michele in Foro Church
    San Michele in Foro Church
    by HORSCHECK
  • San Michele in Foro Church
    San Michele in Foro Church
    by HORSCHECK
  • San Michele in Foro Church
    San Michele in Foro Church
    by HORSCHECK
  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo

    San Michele in Foro Church

    by HORSCHECK Updated Oct 22, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This famous San Michele in Foro Church was built between the 11th and 14th century. The columns in the facade are all different and the wings of the angel statue on top of the facade are flexible to survive the winds.

    The church nave is smaller than the facade as during construction there wasn't enough money left to raise it as high as the facade.

    Directions:
    The San Michele in Foro Church is situated at the Piazza San Michele, alomst in the very centre of the old town.

    San Michele in Foro Church San Michele in Foro Church San Michele in Foro Church
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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    At the heart of the old city

    by Jefie Updated Jul 21, 2010

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    The church of San Michele in Foro along with its piazza stand at the center of the old city, where the Roman forum used to be. Construction of the church began in the 11th century, the campanile was completed in the 12th century, and finally the Romanesque facade was added in the 13th century. The facade is actually much taller than the main structure of the church, and different metals had to be used to make sure it would be sturdy enough to resist strong winds. The same goes for the 4 m tall statue of Archangel St. Michael, to whom the church is dedicated, which sits on top of the facade. The church is open to visitors daily free of charge, but unfortunately it was too dark inside to take pictures without a flash. There were, however, a couple of interesting paintings, including one by Filippino Lippi.

    The Piazza di San Michele is surrounded by lovely 15th and 16th century palazzi, many of which have now been converted into banks. For this reason, there isn't as much atmosphere on this piazza compared with the Piazza Anfiteatro, but I still enjoyed it. There were a couple of nice little cafes, and a man was playing the accordion when we were there. Definitely a good place to stop by for coffee in the morning!

    On the Piazza di San Michele The church of San Michele in Foro
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  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Chiesa St. Michele in Foro

    by BruceDunning Written Aug 22, 2008

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    It is first from 795 and was rebuilt in 1070. The facade was first from the 13th century and was remade in 19th century. The Foro part is attributable to the square that once held the Roman forum. The style is called Pisa-Lucca Romanesque. The sculptures and arches outside are magnificent. They are of important people of the city, not saints. The series of intricate detail and carved stone is to behold. Saint Michele is on top with spread wings and is the patron saint protecting Lucca per tradition.

    Front view of the church-St. Michele on top
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  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo

    FANCY FACADE

    by travelgourmet Updated Jun 25, 2008

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    The center of Lucca, home to a roman forum, a fancy facade with cathedral inside makes for an impressive sight. San Michele in Foro, a 12th century cathedral, sits tall in the piazza with the many colonnaded arcade that goes up a total of five stories, capped at the top with a statue of the Archangel Michael.

    The facade was to have been the front for the remaining height of the cathedral, but the building was never completed. Art works done in the 15th century by Mateo Civitali, Andrea della Robbia, and Filippo Lippi adorn the facade. As you walk along the piazza, you gaze over to the Cathedral and feel the peace that such a beautiful building can bring, of course you are window shopping as well, so peace is well received.

    Colonnaded Facade of San Michele in Foro
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  • Herkbert's Profile Photo

    Look for the glimmer

    by Herkbert Updated Jun 5, 2008

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    Built between the 11th and 14th centuries, using white marble, San Michele in Foro is named after the Roman forum that used to stand at this intersection of the Roman street grid in the center of Lucca. The Romanesque facade is much more ornate and larger than the church that was eventually built, as the funds ran out before the church was completed.

    The carving of the archangel Michele on top has wings that are hinged, so during festivals they can flap away wildly or in high winds they can be retracted. Legend has it that as long as St. Michael stays on top of the church, Lucca is safe.

    And if you catch a glimmer from the jewel in the ring on Michael's hand, you have lots of good luck, so look up!

    facade of San Michele in Foro facade of San Michele in Foro Archangel Michael Altar in San Michele in Foro Art students drawing San Michele facade
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  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Church of San Michele in Foro

    by deecat Updated May 14, 2008

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    The Church of San Michele In Foro was almost right outside our Hotel Pucinni!

    It is probably the most photographed church in Lucca. The facade is really quite delightful. It has a high ribbed and richly sculpted facade which gives the impression of a propped-up film set because the windows look through into thin air! Why? Because money ran out before that part of the church could be raised to the level of the facade.

    Interestingly, every single column is different. Some of the columns are elaborately carved; some are twisted and spiraling; others are like a striped pole. The figure at the top is the archangel, and the wings are hinged and may be retracted if the wind is strong enough!

    If the sun is at the right angle, you may see a glimmer up above, which would be the jewel in a ring on the hand of the statue. The whole building is covered by barrel vaults with lunettes. The walls are of perfectly squared limestone blocks.

    This church is dedicated to St. Michael, the archangel (probably the statue of the Archangel represents Michael). The church supposedly was finished in 1,000 and rebuilt in 1122. This church is really a basilica with three aisles and semicircular apse.

    You can spend a great deal of time inside the church because it is so fascinating and quite beautiful. We visited it several times while in Lucca for six days.5b

    Church of San Michele
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  • gemmarlv's Profile Photo

    Church Visit

    by gemmarlv Written Apr 3, 2008

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    The church of San Michele in Foro

    The church is mentioned for the first time in 795 as ad foro (in the forum). It was rebuilt after 1070 by will of Pope Alexander II. Notable is the façade, from the 13th century, with a large series of sculptures and inlays, numerous of which remade in the 19th century.

    Very pretty church and nice to drop bye. Supposedly St. Michael the Arch-Angel (statue on top) is supposed to be wearing a gold ring. I looked but could not find one.

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  • codrutz's Profile Photo

    San Michele in Foro

    by codrutz Updated Aug 21, 2006

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    Piazza and cathedral San Michele is right in the center of Lucca, on a place of a former Roman forum. The facade of the 12th century church is most impressive, having four rows of colonades, two large and two small, topped with a statue of Archangel Michele which has mobile wings - operated by two men climbing a stair behind. The facade is taller than the church itself (the last two rows of colonades). This feature and the simple design, arches and arches, white marble and the tower on the right back corner makes it a very easy to look at and enjoyable church. The interior is rich and also beautiful.

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  • Helga67's Profile Photo

    St. Michael church

    by Helga67 Updated Mar 15, 2005

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    Another church not to be missed on your walk around Lucca is situated on the Piazza San Michele. This church has a lovely façade. The five rows of columns have different shapes and on top you can see the archangel St. Michael. Did you know that its wings are flexibel?

    The peculiar thing about this church is that the façade is much higher than the rest of the church. This was because of lack of money during building.

    San Michele
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  • illudiumqh36's Profile Photo

    San Michele Church

    by illudiumqh36 Updated Jan 25, 2005

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    In the homonym square there is this beautiful church (about 12th century).
    The facade, in Romanesque style, is much higher than the rest of the church and has marble column different one by each others. Another particular feature of the facade is that all the marbe head that you can see represent some migthy or important men of their age, instead of biblical charachters.
    On the top of the facade there is a statue of archangel Michele, it has two noticeable property. First his wings are mobile, infact in the past during the celebrations for San Michele, two men were used to go on the top of the facade (look to the rear of the facade itself and you will see the stairs!!!) and let the statue "fly" using two poles. For the other particularity...go to my off-the-beaten-path tips :).
    The interior of the church is a little bit dark and not so fascinating as the exterior. Notwithstanding you can find some beautiful piece of art inside.

    Facade of San Michele in Foro

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  • illudiumqh36's Profile Photo

    Piazza San Michele in Foro

    by illudiumqh36 Written Jan 25, 2005

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    Piazza San Michele was the very center of the city during the Roman's age. Its perfect squared shape is due to the fact that it was the junction of the "cardo" and the "decumanus", the main straight streets of a Roman's town. At the center of this square there is the church of San Michele in Foro (usually "in Foro" is neglected, so call it just San Michele).
    In December there is a market that covers all the square and where you can find anything you want (food, clothes, shoes, handcrafts, ...).
    Beautiful medieval buildings surround this square. Behind the rear of the church there is a bakery/pastry shop called "Taddeucci". Here you can find typical cakes of Lucca like "treccia", "buccellato" and "torta di erbe".

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  • Blatherwick's Profile Photo

    San Michele in Foro

    by Blatherwick Written Dec 30, 2004

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    This church, built in the 12th century, is the best Romanesque façade in Lucca. It is likely the most photographed building in Lucca. Every column is different with some of the columns being elaborately carved, some twisted, and others shaped like a striped pole. The archangel at the top has hinged wings that may be retracted.

    The church stands in the old Roman Forum, where Caesar, Pompey and Crassus held a fateful meeting in 56 BC. Compared to other Italian churches, the interior is a little disappointing.

    San Michele in Foro
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  • alucas's Profile Photo

    Piazza San Michele

    by alucas Written Dec 3, 2004

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    Piazza San Michele is located on the site of the Roman forum and has been the centre of the town for centuries. There are fine buildings of various ages from the 13th century onwards. The square was repaved in the 18th century, and the columns and chains date from then. When we visited in September 2002 there was a market in the square, but in July 2004, the square was clear, and there was a procession through the town for St Paul’s day.

    Piazza San Michele

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  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    San Michele in Foro

    by sue_stone Updated Nov 18, 2004

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    San Michele in Foro is an impressive church in the heart of Lucca, that looks like is only ever been half built!

    It is has a huge marble face that kind of looks like something off a film set, as it is very tall compared to the rear of the church. There is also a tall bell tower.

    It certainly dominates the Piazza San Michele and is a must see on a visit to Lucca, even if it is just to take a quick photo.

    San Michele in Foro San Michele in Foro San Michele in Foro San Michele in Foro
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  • maritagnes's Profile Photo

    The church of San Michele in Foro

    by maritagnes Updated Jul 10, 2003

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    The church of San Michele in Foro, raised in the 12th Century, is situated on the medieval piazza San Michele.
    The facade of this extraordinarily beautiful church consists of five rows of columns - each single column different.

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