The beautiful Romanesque church of San Michele in Foro stands on the site of the old Roman forum, hence its name. Although there has been a church on this site since at least the 8th century, the present building only dates back to the end of the 11th century.
The lavishly ornate façade, which is crowned with a four-metre-high statue of the Archangel Michael, was added in the 13th century. Every single column in the four tiers of arcades has a different design.
The corner statue of the Virgin Mary, the Salutis Portus, was sculpted by Matteo Civitali in 1476 to celebrate the end of an especially bad outbreak of the plague.
Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), Lucca’s most famous son, who was born nearby in Via di Poggio (n. 30), served as a choirboy in San Michele in Foro. The composer's father and grandfather had both been organists at the cathedral.
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