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San Michele in Foro Tips (22)

Chiesa di San Michele in Foro

The church of San Michele in Foro was erected on the former Roman Forum, situated on a podium which is elevated above the level of the square. Construction of the church began in the 8th century and was later reconstructed in 1070, as desired by Pope Alessandro II, who was a formerly Bishop of Lucca (Anselmo da Baggio). Closed windows on the facade were added in the 14th century, at the same time when the construction of bell tower has begun. Even on this church, as well as on the other churches in town, Guidetto da Como has made a significant contribution in the reconstructions
In the Middle Ages the church could be entered only across the wooden bridge, Ponte al Foro, because there used to be channel with water around it.
The church has a Latin cross plan with a strong influence of Pisan Romanesque. On top of the four-lodge features stands a marble statue of the Archangel Michael with metal wings. In the facade is quite evident influence of the Gothic style.
Local legend says that under the special conditions of light a green colored spark can be seen, which comes out from the statue. Narrative says that in ancient times there was a built-in emerald , which later was never found.

address: Piazza San Michele

croisbeauty's Profile Photo
Aug 28, 2016

San Michele in Foro – Absolutely amazing.

After we first lighted the candles we had a better look at its interior. Keep in mind that when you enter the church on the left you will find a plan of the church that shows how to find the noted artworks. Once looking around inside the San Michele we saw that it is no less interesting than the amazing outside facade; it houses a splendid Madonna with child and a panel by Filippino Lippi portraying the Four Saints. Our opinion is that the inside of the church is massive and very attractive and we enjoyed the art of the Renaissance and were pleased with the paintings, frescoes and sculptures inside the church.

Very impressive both in and out, all in all, it is absolutely amazing in its scale, beauty, religious majesty and harmonious atmosphere. Admission is free, unlike other churches in Lucca.

Jerelis's Profile Photo
Mar 08, 2016

San Michele in Foro – Lightning a candle.

Although we were quite early when we first arrived at the San Michele in Foro in Lucca we were already allowed to enter it. A huge advantage of our early arrival was the fact that there were almost no tourists. Either the bus / coach was still on his way or everybody was having a breakfast in their hotel. Whenever we visit a church the kids always want to burn a candle, it has become a bit of a tradition. The Sight of burning votive candles - real or electronic - is common in most Catholic churches. The candles are usually placed before statues of saints or at shrines. But how did this tradition get its start?

According to A Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals, by Ann Ball, the practice of lighting candles in order to obtain some favor probably has its origins in the custom of burning lights at the tombs of the martyrs in the catacombs. The lights burned as a sign of solidarity with Christians still on earth. Because the lights continually burned as a silent vigil, they became known as vigil lights. Vigil Lights (from the Latin vigilia, which means "waiting" or "watching") are traditionally accompanied by prayers of attention or waiting. Another common type of candle offering is the votive light. Such an offering is indicative of seeking some favor from the Lord or the saint before which the votive is placed. So for us lighting a candle is a way of extending our prayer and showing solidarity with the person on whose behalf our prayer is offered.

Jerelis's Profile Photo
Mar 08, 2016

San Michele in Foro – Romanesque church.

The history of the entire area of Lucca is quite interesting. In advance we read on the internet that in 180 BC it became a Roman colony. Therefore it is fun to learn that the name of the church of San Michele is completed by the name of the place where it was built: the forum, the first centre of public life in Roman times.

When we first arrived we saw that the village is dominated by the church San Michele in Foro, it truly towers over the picturesque and historical town of Lucca. Dating primarily from the 12th century, San Michele in Foro in Lucca is a beautiful Romanesque church with one of the most interesting facades in Italy. The facade is built in a series with arches with numerous sculptures and inlays. Iron is used on the top area to combat the effects of the wind. The church is topped with a four metre statue of Saint Michael the Archangel. Time for us to explore it!

Jerelis's Profile Photo
Mar 08, 2016
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San Michele in Foro Church

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.

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

HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
Oct 22, 2011

At the heart of the old city

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!

Jefie's Profile Photo
Jul 21, 2010

Chiesa St. Michele in Foro

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.

BruceDunning's Profile Photo
Aug 22, 2008


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.

travelgourmet's Profile Photo
Jun 25, 2008
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"Lucca from the inside"
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"Lucca - a Gem of a City"
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"Location, Location"
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"Lucca - Historical gem of the Tuscany"
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Look for the glimmer

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!

Herkbert's Profile Photo
Jun 05, 2008

Church of San Michele in Foro

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

deecat's Profile Photo
May 14, 2008

Church Visit

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.

gemmarlv's Profile Photo
Apr 03, 2008

San Michele in Foro

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.

codrutz's Profile Photo
Aug 21, 2006

Things To Do Near San Michele in Foro

Things to do

Palazzo Mansi

Palazzo Mansi belonged to a family of silk merchants. It dates from the end of the XVI century to the beginning of the XVII. It houses an interesting collection of paintings and several rooms where...
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Palazzo Pfanner

This palace was built in the second half of the XVII century for the Moriconi family. They were noble silk merchants. In 1680 the property was taken over by the Contarini; another family of noble...
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Duomo di San Martino

According to legend, the cathedral of San Martino was founded by Saint Frediano in the 6th century. Apparently, at first it was a large complex composed by San Martino and church of San Giovanni e...
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San Frediano Church

When we hiked our way up in the amazing city of Lucca we passed the Basilica di San Frediano at some point. To our huge disappointment the church wasn't open for the public at that time. This was the...
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Tower Guinigi

From the top of this majestuous " Tower-House" ( 44m.) we have a scenic view of the city of Lucca and specialy on the dozen of other towers around the city. There is no elevator, climbing is not too...
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City walls

The history of fortified walls of Lucca begins in 200 A.C. - with a classic square of walls that surrounded the city centre, and with part of it seen there up to today. During the Napoleon era the...
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Getting to San Michele in Foro


Piazza San Michele


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