(Credits: Comune di Lucca via Facebook)

Lucca, the host city of the G7 Foreign Affairs

On April 10–11, the Tuscan city of Lucca will host the foreign ministers for the G7 countries as part of the official agenda of the Italian Presidency of the G7 for 2017.

Following is a few information courtesy of the City of Lucca (via http://www.turismo.lucca.it/en)

Lucca’s origins

The Lucca Plain was crossed in ancient times by the several branches in which the course of the Auser river (today’s Serchio) was divided. Human settlements have concentrated along its banks since the Bronze Age. The plain, made fertile by the river, being a major route of communication and trade, was intensely populated by the Etruscans since the eighth century BC, while the Apuan Ligurians settled in the mountains of the middle and upper valley since the fourth century BC. The city of Lucca was founded by the Romans in 180 BC, at the end of the bloody war against the Ligurians who strongly resisted the advance of Rome.

The city still maintains the Roman orthogonal planning, which divided in regular blocks the space within the walls in the second century BC, as evidenced by the network of streets of the historical center. At the intersection between the Cardine and the Decumano Massimi, where the Forum was located, there is today one of the most important and striking squares of the city, where the church of San Michele in Foro stands. The Cardine and the Decumano Massimi still coincide with the main city streets.

The Augustan Age was the moment of maximum splendor for the Roman city, with the construction of the theater, the renovation of the Forum and a full urbanization. The most impressive public monument, the Amphitheater, was erected in the second half of the first century AD outside the mighty walls.

Still today, the origins of Lucca are the object of historical research. Some scholars attribute to the Ligurians the construction of the first settlement. The name “Lucca” might come from the Celtic-Ligurian word Luk, meaning “marsh”. However, the same root as Luk brings to the word “light”, meaning a clearing in the vegetation. Other scholars, based on recent archaeological discoveries, attribute the birth of the city to the Etruscans.

Lucca stood in a large marsh created by the passage of the ancient river Auser (Serchio). The river caused many problems to the city because of the frequent floods. Centuries later, to put a remedy to this, the bishop Frediano (elected in 560 AD) ordered to divert the course of the river. The work brought a significant environmental improvement, which found its climax in the complete reclamation of the plain during the Middle Ages.

(Credits: Comune di Lucca via Facebook)

Lucca’s walls

The Walls are the best-known image of the city of Lucca. This impressive monument, wholly intact, stretches without interruption for more than four kilometers, with an average height of 12 meters and surrounded for its entire perimeter by a green area of ​​75 hectares.

These walls, made of red bricks and characterized by a succession of curtains and bastions, were built between the middle of the 16th and of the 17th century, as a defense.

Music and Puccini

Alongside the main character of Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924), a symbol of Italian opera, Lucca can boast a gallery of musicians that make its musical tradition unique, as Francesco Geminiani (1687–1762), Luigi Boccherini (1743–1805), Alfredo Catalani (1854–1893) and Gaetano Luporini (1865–1948 ).

On the basis of this illustrious and precious tradition, love and worship for excellent music are cared for and promoted in Lucca through many events that enhance both the quality of the musical heritage presented to the general public, and the relation of its executions and representations with the most distinguished and prestigious places in the city and in the beautiful surrounding countryside.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella visited Lucca on March 3, 2017. (Credits: Quirinale)

For more on the G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, and our dispatches on the Italian presidency of the G7 in 2017, follow our G7inUS publication here on Mediumand Medium Italiano, or follow us on Twitter. For the official channel of the G7 presidency in 2017, follow @G7 on Twitter or visit the G7 official website.