Piazza Napoleone is the largest and main square in Lucca, local people call it Piazza Grande (big square). The square is at the place that was once occupied by an enormous fortress Augusta and palace complex which had been the residence of Castruccio Castracani, late-medieval lord of Lucca. Fortress and palace complex was destroyed by angry people in 1370. After that the ruler of Lucca became Paolo Guinigi, who built Cittadella on that spot, which was demolished in 1429 after the fall of Guinigi. At the end, at the remains of Cittadella was built Palazzo Ducale, which stands here today.
The square was built in 1806, during the reign of Napoleon, who gave the city principality, governed by his sister Elisa. Napoleon had plan to put his own enormous statue in the middle of the square but that plan fell through after his fall in 1815th.
After Napoleon the city was ruled by Maria Luisa di Borbone-Spagna (1815-1824) and in her honor in 1843 on the square was placed the statue, the work of sculptor Lorenzo Bartonini.
Palazzo Ducale is today the seat of the administration of the Lucca province.
The town of Lucca includes a number of public squares, most notably the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, site of ancient Roman amphitheater; but also Piazza San Romano, Piazza Cittadella and Piazza Napoleone.
The first square we saw was the Piazza Napoleone. Lucca was conquered by Napoleon and the square was named after him. Piazza Napoleone is a great meeting point where the charming narrow streets filled with cute shops lead into. Not too much going on in truth. Nevertheless, still worth a visit to this large but picturesque piazza. It has several striking buildings circling it and some shops and restaurants. Can be busy with temporary fairs, markets or events - or open and quiet at times. Some bars, cafes and restaurants around it. You'll undoubtably pass through it going to some attraction, but won't seek it out for itself.
The Piazza Napoleone is one of the biggest squares in Lucca. It was designed by the sister of Napoleon in 1806.
The Piazza Napoleone is home to the Palazzo Ducale which used to be part of the fortress of Lucca. Nowadays the building is the political and administrative centre of the town.
This large piazza, which is even bigger if you include the Piazza del Giglio (nothing really separates the two), is mostly known for hosting music shows during Lucca's Summer Festival that takes place in July. A great number of international artists have performed there since 1998, including Bob Dylan, Elton John and Santana, just to name a few.
Two major buildings surround the piazza: the Palazzo Ducale and Theatro del Giglio. The palazzo was built in the early 14th century by Castruccio Castracani who played a major role in the conquest of Lucca by the Ghibellines. Fearing a rebellion, Castracani began building a fortress near the Porta San Pietro, buying and destroying several houses to expand it. When the city regain its independence in 1370, the palazzo was remodelled to house city offices, and citizens were symbolically invited to a ceremony inside the palazzo's courtyard. As for the theatro, it dates back to 1675. Although it has suffered from a fire and was even abandoned for a period of about 20 years, it was entirely restored in the early 19th century and further improvements were made throughout the years, all the while preserving as much of the original design as possible. The Theatro del Giglio still stages operas to this day.
This sprawling square is named after Napoleon, whose sister, Elisa Baciocchi, ruled Lucca from 1805 to 1815. Piazza Napoleone is dominated by the imposing Palazzo Ducale. It's a shady place by tall trees, it hosts a neo-classic memorial to Maria Luigi di Borbone, by L. Bartolini.
Just to the east of Piazza Napoleone lies Piazza del Giglio where the city's theatre resides - Teatro del Giglio. The theatre was commissioned in 1672 on the site of an old convent. Following a period of French domination, when it was named the Teatro Nazionale, it reached its most glorious period in 1819 when Maria Luisa di Borbone took it over having become sovereign of Lucca. It is the most classic of Italian opera houses and the ideal home for the 'Centro Studi Giacomo Puccini'.
This square is the very center of the city and it is used for many events (concerts in Summer, ice skating in December, open party for New Year's Eve,...). Surrounded by trees it has a marble satue of Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi (the sister of Napoleone) standing in its centre. Facing the front of the statue there is Palazzo Ducale (Palace of Dukes). In this palace there is several intitutions for the city and its province, the most useful for you it's one of the three tourist information office. Although it's very nice to visit this palace is closed to tourists except for a few special weekends per year.
On the right side of the square there is one of the two schools for fine arts in town (the other is in Via Fillungo). The other two sides are full of shops, cheap cafes and expensive restaurants.
On the North-East corner open Piazza del Giglio with its homonym city theater.
Piazza Napoleone (also known as Piazza Grande) is a fabulous large Piazza dedicated to Napoleon.
When it was built back in the early 1800's, many buildings had to be destroyed to create this large area.
Today it is surrounded by cafes/restaurants and appeared to be a bit of a meeting place.
For some reason I was really taken with it - I think because it seemed so bright and white and symmetrical....or something like that.
A photo I took in Lucca Town Square...called Piazza Napoleone. There's a Tourist Office where I changed my travellers checks...
Lucca has 2 territories, INSIDE the Walls & OUTSIDE the Walls.
If you would like to see medieval old buildings, there are plenty inside the walls.
Big square where the Palazzo Ducale is. It houses, apart from the headquarters of Provinicia di Lucca, one of the Tourism Offices.