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Puccini and Lucca

Lucca has an age-old and rich musical history and the great Giacomo Puccini best exemplifies this tradition.

We begin by paying a visit to the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini (an entrance fee is required). He was born in the apartment situated on the second floor of the building on 22 December 1858. A significant renovation in 2011 restored the apartment to its original splendor. The museum traces the Maestro’s life and work through his music, documents, art, furnishings, and artifacts. Due to the amount of material that the museum has acquired through the years, exhibits are often changed. The museum welcomes visitors, and has concerts and other events to commemorate and propagate Giacomo Puccini’s music and lyrics.

Other places you will visit with your guide:

Church of Saints Paolino and Donato (16th century)
This was the Puccini family’s parish church. It can be said that Giacomo Puccini received his musical baptism here. In July 1880, Giacomo’s composition Messa a 4 voci a piena orchestra (Four-voiced mass with full orchestra) was presented in the church. It was the Maestro’s first masterpiece and remained imprinted in the composer’s memory to the extent that he drew from it more than once for other important compositions.

Palazzo Ducale in Piazza Napoleone
The seat of government was located in Palazzo Ducale. In the 1540s, the Republic of Lucca had established a state orchestra, which operated out of the Palazzo. All of Giacomo Puccini’s ancestors worked as the Republic’s ‘Maestro di Cappella’ (chapel master or in German, Kapellmeister, designating the very important position of director of music). When Napoleon’s sister, Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi, was Princess of Lucca (1805 – 1814) she created the piazza we see today and a private theatre within the palazzo.

Teatro del Giglio
The city’s theatre is an extraordinary and rare example of a public theatre that has been operating more or less continuously since 1675. In August 1819, the remodeled Teatro del Giglio entered its most glorious phase and offered productions of outstanding quality. The first high C ever sung by a tenor was sung here in September 1831 during the Italian premiere of Rossini’s William Tell. Giacomo Puccini appeared as piano accompanist before leaving Lucca and subsequently as a composer overseeing the productions of his operas. All his operas were performed here during his lifetime. The theatre presents an opera season yearly.

Cathedral of San Martino
In this splendid cathedral, all of Giacomo’s ancestors held the prestigious position of organist, composer, and music director from 1740 to 1864 without interruption. Above all, for the celebration of Santa Croce (Holy Cross) held yearly on September 13 and 14, the Puccini family musicians made their greatest contributions by composing great music for the organized concerts. An entrance fee is required.

Church of San Pietro Somaldi
Puccini’s early biographers tell how, in his youth before moving to Milan to complete his music studies, he used to play the organ in various churches of Lucca, such as San Pietro Somaldi and San Paolino. The organ in this church is a very valuable 17th-century instrument constructed by a famous local organ builder, Domenico Cacioli. Once Puccini became well-known, he financed the restoration of the organ and carved his signature on the windchest.

Please note: Entrance fees are extra.

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