Posted by: debrakolkka | March 24, 2010

A baluardo – bastion on Lucca’s wall

the baluardos are the bits that stick out from the wall

Today I walked into Lucca through the door under Baluardo S.Martino, near Porta Santa Maria.  There are 11 baluardos and six main entrances to Lucca.  The walls are more than 10 metres tall, and up to 30 metres thick at the base.  Until 1799, they were defended by 126 cannons which were taken away by the Austrians during their withdrawal.

the path leading into the baluardo


The entrance to Baluardo S. Martino


Most of the doors lead you directly through the wall to the town, but under Baluardo S. Martino you can walk through the barracks where soldiers would have gathered.  The entrance is narrow and dark, and today water was dripping through onto the track because of the rain.

the narrow tunnel to the inside

Once through the narrow tunnel, the space opens up into large cavernous areas where the soldiers would have sheltered.  There are several air vents and old fireplaces.  Perhaps the men had to spend lots of time here.  The photos make it look quite light, but it isn’t.  It is dark, dingy and damp.  No doubt it would have been lit with lamps and fires, but it can’t have been much fun down there.

inside the barracks


an old fireplace


an air vent


looking out

 It was good to come out into daylight and walk up onto the top of the wall.

On top of Baluardo S. Martino

On the top you can see the airvents and chimneys – a much nicer place to be.


  1. My God this is so beautiful! There is so many beautiful historical places we don’t know about. Europe is so rich with such places.
    This would be a perfect place to shoot a medieval movie:)
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for the history about the baluardos, Deb. I walked through one of those but had no idea that soldiers were stationed there. I used to wonder why the walls were so thick and the tunnels so long. Now I understand and certainly agree they would be gloomy places for these soldiers to spend time, perhaps for days? One thing I missed was walking on the top of those walls, and will make sure that will be on my list of things to do next time I visit Lucca.

  3. My great friend Jane and I begin our Italian wandering later this month, and have been searching everywhere for information on possible areas below the baluardos of Lucca. After several unsuccessful attempts to phone the International Center for the Study of Urban Walls this marvelous blog presented itself this morning! Now I need to find time over the next week to wander through your archives to see what else we can’t possibly miss.

    • I hope you find useful information. email me if you have any questions you think I may be able to help with.

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