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Lucca (population 90,000) is a city in Tuscany, northern central Italy, near (but not on) the Ligurian Sea. It is one of the most conservative and richest cities in Northern Italy.

Cattedrale San Martino, Lucca

Lucca was founded by the Etruscans and became a Roman colony in 180 BC. It became prosperous through the silk trade. For almost 500 years, Lucca was an independent republic. In the 10th and 11th centuries Lucca was the capital of the feudal margravate of Tuscany, more or less independent but owing nominal allegiance to the Holy Roman Emperor. There were many minor feudatories in the region between southern Liguria and northern Tuscany dominated by the Malaspina; Tuscany in this time was a part of feudal Europe. Dante’s Divine Comedy include many references to the great feudal families who had huge jurisdictions with administrative and judicial rights.

In 1805 it was taken over by Napoleon who put his sister Elisa in charge. After that it became a Bourbon duchy, then part of the Italian State.

Unusually for cities in the region, the walls around the old town were retained intact as the city expanded and modernized. As the wide walls lost their military importance, they became a promenade ringing the old town.

Lucca is the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini. The Casa di Puccini is open to the public. At nearby Torre del Lago there is a Puccini opera festival every year in September. Puccini had a house there.