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Piazza dell’Anfiteatro

Our favourite piazza in Italy is the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro in Lucca. The first thing that you notice is that to enter this special space you have to walk through one of four ground level tunnels, complete with arched roofs, leading from the surrounding streets through the medieval buildings which encompass this piazza.

On entering you find yourself in an elliptical area which is eerily reminiscent of the Colosseum and there is a good reason for this because you are standing in what once was a Roman amphitheatre. A jumble of shops and houses have now replaced the tiers of seating but you have walked in the footsteps of the gladiators who once fought here.

To get a real feel for the place, look at the exterior of the eastern entrance in Via dell’Anfiteatro and admire the original Roman stonework that framed the entrance when it was first built. If you think it is a little out of proportion and perhaps a little cramped for what would have been such a grand building, then just imagine an entrance 10 feet taller than the one you see today – ground level in Roman times was 10 feet lower than today’s streets. Full of life, with bars, cafes, markets, and street performers this is a place that makes you feel good to be alive.

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