We are strolling through the narrow streets of Lucca when we come across one of the four gates that lead us to Piazza dell’Anfiteatro (Square of the Amphitheater).
Probably in the second half of the 1st century AD, in the place of today’s Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, there was a Roman amphitheater with about 10000 seats. Here were traditionally held gladitator shows and games.
In 1810, during construction works, an inscription was discovered in which the citizen Quintus Vibius is mentioned. He had donated one hundred thousand sesterces over a period of ten years so that the construction of the amphitheater could take place.
In the Middle Ages, houses were built on the ruins of the former seats and the former arena formed the oval square that still exists today. At first, the square served as a public place for gatherings. Later, more and more buildings were built around and on the square, especially longhouses, which were erected for the storage of salt, for example. But there is also said to have been a prison there.
It was only in the early 19th century that a Lucca-born architect managed to get the city council to restore the square to its original shape. The buildings were demolished and the elliptical shape was restored. In addition, an oval street, Vía del anfiteatro, was built around the row of houses.
The now newly created space served as a marketplace for the municipal market until the middle of the 20th century.
Stroll at Piazza dell’Anfiteatro
If you step through one of the four gates, you come to the beautifully landscaped square. In November, hardly any tables and chairs of the surrounding restaurants were built here. But I was already once in the summer there and you could sit here comfortably and watch the hustle and bustle on the square. Especially in the afternoon and evening hours there is a lot of activity on the square.
On April 27th every year there is a big festival in honor of the local patron saint Zita of Lucca. Then also on the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is celebrated vigorously.
Who wants can also store in one of the small stores around the square. I have discovered some beautiful things.
If you look around, you can see the different houses around the square. Although they all have different heights, they still look quite homogeneous due to the uniform facade design. I like it!
Where is Piazza dell’Anfiteatre in Lucca?
The square is located in the northern part of the old town, within the city walls of Lucca. From the Duomo you can walk along Via Fillungo to Piazza dell’Anfiteatro.