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Cathedral of St Martin

Vacation Travel Guide
Cathedral of St Martin showing interior views, a church or cathedral and religious aspects

Visit one of Lucca’s most sacred religious icons, an impressive building that is almost a millennium old.

The Cathedral of St. Martin has been part of Lucca since the 11th century. The elaborate architectural designs come from renovation work from the 12th century onward as little remains of the original building. Housed within is an ancient venerated crucifix.

Give yourself a few minutes to look over the building's exterior. Start at the upper levels to see columns covered in sculptures or carved with geometric patterns. Look at the unusual capitals with their grotesque figures of animals and humans. Bring a pair of binoculars with you or a camera with a good zoom lens to study the designs up close.

Focus on the three arches of the lower part of the façade and note the asymmetrical design, as the right arch is smaller than the other two. On the right side of the center arch is a statue of St. Martin to whom the cathedral is dedicated. He is on horseback dividing his cloak with a beggar. The statue is a replica of the 13th-century original that is kept just inside the main entrance. Observe the bas-reliefs decorating the porch, including the depiction of the beheading of St. Regulus by the Goths.

On entering the cathedral go to the small octagonal chapel that contains one of Lucca’s most sacred relics, the Volto Santo di Lucca (Holy Face of Lucca). This is a carved wooden crucifix with a detailed effigy of Jesus Christ. According to legend it was carved by Nicodemus who helped prepare Jesus’s body for burial. Scholars believe the cross to be a copy of the original creation.

Pay a small charge to visit the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto, an Italian noblewoman who died in 1405. The beautiful marble sarcophagus has an effigy of Ilaria lying on the lid with a dog resting at her feet. The sides are decorated with figures of nude cherubs.

The Cathedral of St. Martin is open daily. The church is located at the eastern end of Piazza San Martino, a short walking distance from Lucca’s train station.

Top Hotels Close to Cathedral of St Martin

Hotel Rex
Hotel Rex
3 out of 5
Piazzale Bettino Ricasoli 19, Lucca, Toscana
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is ¥10,648 per night from Aug 5 to Aug 5
Located in Lucca Historical Center, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Walls of Lucca and Piazza Napoleone. Guinigi Tower and Piazza dell'Anfiteatro are ...
4.4/5Excellent! (305 reviews)
Hotel Rex, Lucca
"The size of the shower cubicle was too small and the air con left a lot to be desired"

Reviewed on Aug 9, 2020

Hotel Rex
Hotel Ilaria
Hotel Ilaria
4 out of 5
Via Del Fosso 26, Lucca, LU
The price is ¥16,445 per night from Aug 22 to Aug 22
This family-friendly Lucca hotel is located in the historical district, within a 10-minute walk of Villa Bottini, Guinigi Tower, and Piazza dell'Anfiteatro. ...
4.6/5Exceptional! (905 reviews)
"Nice hotel, great location, but would avoid the pricy breakfast as surrounded by cafes!"

Reviewed on Nov 6, 2020

Hotel Ilaria
Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection
Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection
4 out of 5
Piazza Del Giglio 1, Lucca, LU
The price is ¥34,192 per night from Aug 7 to Aug 7
Located in Lucca Historical Center, this hotel is steps from Teatro del Giglio and Piazza Napoleone. Guinigi Tower and Piazza dell'Anfiteatro are also within ...
5/5Exceptional! (1 review)
"Ottimo"

Reviewed on Jul 26, 2021

Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Cathedral of St Martin

Cathedral of St Martin


Best Lodging Options Near Cathedral of St Martin

Hotel Diana
Hotel Diana
2 out of 5
Via della Dogana 9, Lucca, LU
The price is ¥8,873 per night from Aug 30 to Aug 30
Hotel Diana
Hotel Ilaria
Hotel Ilaria
4 out of 5
Via Del Fosso 26, Lucca, LU
The price is ¥16,445 per night from Aug 22 to Aug 22
Hotel Ilaria
Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection
Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection
4 out of 5
Piazza Del Giglio 1, Lucca, LU
The price is ¥34,192 per night from Aug 7 to Aug 7
Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection
Hotel Rex
Hotel Rex
3 out of 5
Piazzale Bettino Ricasoli 19, Lucca, Toscana
The price is ¥10,648 per night from Aug 5 to Aug 5
Hotel Rex
Palazzo Dipinto
Palazzo Dipinto
4 out of 5
Piazza del Palazzo Dipinto, 27, Lucca
The price is ¥23,673 per night from Aug 30 to Aug 30
Palazzo Dipinto
Hotel A Palazzo Busdraghi, Residenza d'Epoca
Hotel A Palazzo Busdraghi, Residenza d'Epoca
Via Fillungo 170, Lucca, LU
The price is ¥14,553 per night from Aug 1 to Aug 1
Hotel A Palazzo Busdraghi, Residenza d'Epoca
Palazzo Alexander Hotel
Palazzo Alexander Hotel
4 out of 5
Via Santa Giustina 48, Lucca, LU
The price is ¥16,445 per night from Aug 1 to Aug 1
Palazzo Alexander Hotel
Albergo San Martino
Albergo San Martino
3 out of 5
Via Della Dogana 9, Lucca, LU
The price is ¥11,713 per night from Aug 30 to Aug 30
Albergo San Martino
B&B La Bohème
B&B La Bohème
Via del Moro, 2, Lucca, LU
The price is ¥11,240 per night from Aug 1 to Aug 1
B&B La Bohème
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.