I. A Province Of Central Italy, bounded N. by Massa e Carrara and Modena, E. by Florence, S. by Pisa, and W. by the Li-gurian sea; area, 576 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 280,399. It is a mountainous district, crossed in the east by the Apennines, and with only one river, the Serchio, which is not deep enough for navigation. Near the sea the land is low and marshy. The soil is not naturally fertile, but is highly cultivated, and yields principally olives, chestnuts, figs, almonds, and citrons. Much attention has recently been given to the culture of the mulberry, but the grain produce is still below the amount needed for home consumption.
II. A City, capital of the province, in a fertile valley watered by the Serchio, 10 m. N. E. of Pisa, and 38 m. W. of Florence; pop. in 1872, 68,204. The streets are well paved. The principal squares are the Piazza Ducale, Piazza S. Michele, and Piazza del Mercato. The last, which is the most remarkable, and in which the market has been held since 1839, occupies the site and preserves the form of the ancient amphitheatre, which had two stories of 54 arches each, and could accommodate with seats nearly 11,000 spectators. The chief public buildings are the town house, the public library, the ducal palace, the Palazzo Pretorio, the Palazzo Mansi, and the Palazzo Borghi (now used as a pauper asylum). Adjoining the last are the so-called Scaligerian castles and a lofty tower, this palace as well as some others of Lucca having been originally intended for purposes of defence as well as for habitation and state. There are about 40 churches. The cathedral, dedicated to St. Martin, is of the 11th century, with archiepiscopal archives abounding in ancient historical documents, adorned with paintings by Tintoretto and other masters, with statuary and other works of art by Civitali and various eminent sculptors, and with a memorial known as the " altar of Liberty;" a small chapel near the altar contains an ancient crucifix carved of cedar wood, famous as a miraculous relic.
Lucca possesses an academy of letters and sciences founded in 1817, and a number of educational and charitable institutions. Cotton, wool, paper, and cloth manufactures contribute to the industrial activity of Lucca. The celebrated baths of Lucca are about 14 m. from the city, near the towns of Ponte a Seraglio, Bagni alla Villa, and Bernabo. The water of the springs contains Glauber and bitter salts, and has a temperature ranging between 90° and 110°. - Lucca (Luca) was anciently included within the limits of Etruria; but as no Etruscan remains have been discovered in its neighborhood, it is very doubtful whether it was an Etruscan town. Livy mentions it as having given shelter to Sempronius when he retired before Hannibal, 218 B. C. The town fell into the hands of the Ligurians, and became a Roman colony in 177. It became a Lombard duchy in A. D. 572, was subsequently annexed to the Frankish and the German empires, and having regained its independence, became a republic early in the 12th century.
It carried on wars with Pisa and Florence, was for a time under the sway of Castracani (1316-'28), succumbed to the Pisans shortly after, was liberated from their yoke by the emperor Charles IV. in the latter part of the 14th century, again became the prey of several petty tyrants, and eventually recovered its independence and formed a government, ruled by an aristocracy. An attempt to establish a more popular government made by the gonfaloniere Burlamacchi toward the middle of the 16th century failed, and its instigator was put to death. The Martinian law passed soon afterward, and so called after its author, the gonfaloniere Martino Bernardini, established a close form of aristocratic government resembling that of Venice, only a certain number of families being made eligible to office. In 1797 Lucca was seized by the French, and in 1805 it was given by Napoleon as a principality to his sister Elisa Baccioehi. After his fall it was occupied by Austria, and the Spanish infanta Maria Louisa was invested with the regency of Lucca, which however was to revert to Tuscany as soon as the death of the Austrian Maria Louisa had reinstated the Spanish Maria Louisa and her son upon the throne of Parma. The latter princess was succeeded, March 13, 1824, by her son Charles Louis, who had married in 1820 a daughter of the future king of Sardinia, Charles Albert. This prince spent most of his time abroad.
Ward (died in 1858), an English groom, who left Yorkshire as a boy in the pay of Prince Liechtenstein, and spent some years as a jockey in Vienna, ingratiated himself with the duke of Lucca, who promoted him from the stable to his household as valet, which service he performed up to 1846, when he was made master of the horse. Eventually he officiated as minister of the household and minister of finance, and was the ruling spirit of the duchy, until the retirement of the duke in 1817, afterward joining the service of the duke of Parma. Shortly after the outbreak of the Italian movement in 1847, the duke ceded Lucca (with the exception of some minor parts reverting to Modena and Parma) to Tuscany, of which it remained a province till March, 1860, when it was annexed to the dominions of Victor Emanuel.