The Chiesa di San Michele in Foro (Church of San Michele in Foro), is one of the most remarkable churches in Lucca. When you’re walking through the city of Lucca you will definitely not miss out on the enchanting beauty of the San Michele in Foro as the historical structure will definitely draw your attention.
The Roman Catholic Church was first mentioned in 795 as ad foro (an ancient Roman forum), and was rebuilt after 1070 on orders of Pope Alexander II on the original location. The accompanying bell tower dates back to the 12th century. Up until 1370 the Chiesa di San Michele in Foro was the seat of the Consiglio Maggiore (Major Council), which was the most important assembly of the municipality at that time.
The San Michele church in Lucca was originally built in dedication to Archangel Michael. The church is a unique masterpiece of different architectural styles as the church was built and renovated over the course of several centuries. You’ll find both Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles making the church truly unique. In today’s age the church is rightfully considered as the most frequented tourist attractions in the city of Lucca.
An architectural masterpiece
The facade of the Chiesa di San Michele will immediately draw your attention. It was originally designed in the 13th century and shows various signs of the rich period Lucca experienced. The various columns at the front of the facade form a magnificent piece of art , as they are all uniquely decorated with motifs depicting animals, plants and zodiac signs.
The summit is characterized by the statue of St. Michael the Archangel, flanked by two other angels. The legend goes that the city of Lucca is safe as long as St. Michael stays on top of the church. The wings of the angel are flexible and thus can withstand the wind. The architects originally mainly used iron materials on the upper part of the church, in order for it to survive heavy weather and storms.
The interior of the San Michele
When I first walked into the San Michele church I was disappointed by what I was greeted with. Having admired the church over and over again from the outside set high expectations for the inside of the church. Having said that, it’s still 100% worth it to go inside and admire its beauty, don’t be guided by my bad taste and high expectations.
The interior has two aisles and a nave that have been designed to show incredible pieces of art. The nave is supported by a series of arcades that are designed on monolithic columns.
Some of the artworks to look out for while visiting the inside of the church are the Madonna and Child by Matteo Civitali, the Altar dedicated to St. Lucia by Andrea Della Robbia, and the large wooden crucifix on the main altar depicting the Passion of Christ.
The bell tower
The bell tower of the San Michele church was created between the 12th and 14th century. It rises from the southern transept of the building. It is characterized by a number of decorative mullioned windows in single, double and triple designs.
Important information you need to know before visiting the tower
How to get to the San Michele in Foro in Lucca?
The address of the church is Piazza San Michele, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy. By clicking on the link Google Maps will open in a new tab to lead you to the church.
Yes, you’ll be able to admire the church from outside as well as inside.
It is free to enter the San Michele in Foro, you can leave a donation if you wish.
Opening Hours San Michele in Foro
Every day in the morning from 07:40 until 12:00
Every day in the afternoon from 15:00 until 18:00