Home » Destinations » Europe » Italy » One of 230 discovered Roman amphitheatres: Anfiteatro Lucca, Italy

One of 230 discovered Roman amphitheatres: Anfiteatro Lucca, Italy

by Emiel Van Den Boomen

One of the most interesting sights in Lucca (Tuscany region, Italy) is the Piazza del Anfiteatro (Amphitheatre Square). Standing in the middle you can clearly see the oval shape of a former Roman Amphitheatre. The place used to be a public venue used for events such as gladiator combats and chariot races. Close your eyes and try to imagine yourself in the central performance area with thousands of people around you…

showing amphitheater Lucca

That can be a bit difficult in Lucca as the Anfiteatro today is full of little shops, houses and restaurants. The oval shape and some arcaded façades are actually the only thing left that is typical for such an amphitheater. But that used to be very different indeed with theatre-style stages and lots of seating tiers for the public! One of the world’s most famous amphitheaters is the Collosseum in Rome, a place you certainly know.

View on houses in Lucca anfiteatro

Houses of Lucca in Italy

The amphitheatre in Lucca was built by the Romans after the city became a Roman colony in 180 BC. The Lucca Anfiteatro is one of 230 Roman amphitheatres that have been found throughout the former Roman empire.


Hundreds of years ago the amphitheatre in Lucca was terribly neglected as it was situated in one of the worst areas in town. Poor people started to brick and close the arcaded façades to turn them into (very small) houses. That has actually been the start of the metamorphosis of this old amphitheatre into how it looks today.

Lucca amphitheatre though gate

Clothes drying Italy

Flower with houses in Lucca in the back

Luckily the value of the Anfiteatro was recognized. In contradiction to earlier days, the Anfiteatro is now the most expensive place to live in Lucca. According to people we spoke in Lucca, property value is currently at €6,000/sqm! (USD 7,800). Although the houses don’t look that expensive, it’s one of the best spots in Lucca to sit down and relax. Especially in spring when certain places within the oval Anfiteatro catch the last sunlight of the day…

Family travel Italy

Don’t forget to climb one of the towers in Lucca to watch the oval shape from above!

Lucca from above


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Tiana Kai May 14, 2013 - 22:51

Very cool! I just got back and wrote two posts about Lucca, but I didn’t know about this nice fact. This may just be my favorite Tuscan town. It’s so much fun riding around by bike and learning all the history with some wine in your hand.

Emiel van den Boomen May 15, 2013 - 21:03

Thanks Tiana! I will be checking your posts about Lucca (are they already published?). You are living in Florence right? Great to know Lucca is one of your favorite Tuscan towns, means we made a good choice by staying there for a couple of days..

Tiana Kai May 16, 2013 - 13:49

Yes, already published. Two quick and fun ones:
I hope to go back in Fall.

Yes, I’ve been in Florence for one year now. As close as these great towns are it is a shame that I don’t go more often!

Mishele Newkirk-Smith May 9, 2013 - 18:28


We miss Italy! The pictures are beautiful. Thanks!

Emiel van den Boomen May 11, 2013 - 12:55

Thank you Mishele!

Bama May 9, 2013 - 10:12

This is the first time I read about such usage of a Roman amphitheater. What a unique building I must say!

Emiel van den Boomen May 11, 2013 - 12:56

Thanks Bama. Indeed I have also not heard of another amphitheater that has been changed into something like this. But I’m sure there are.

Melanie Murrish May 8, 2013 - 14:03

Ahhhh, green-eyed! Beautiful photos of a town on my bucket list. Thanks

Anneke de Bundel May 8, 2013 - 07:48

Nice story and pictures again Emiel. Makes me want to go right away!

Emiel van den Boomen May 8, 2013 - 10:20

Thanks Anneke. Our apartment was next to one of the entrances of the Anfiteatro, so looking out of our window I could do a little bit of eavesdropping with all the tour guides passing by with their groups 😉 Every destination has its own ways of providing you with background information…

Farrah May 7, 2013 - 12:23

When I walked into the center I just stood there with my jaw hanging open. What a gorgeous place- thank you so much for the background!

Emiel van den Boomen May 8, 2013 - 10:32

It is that beautiful indeed Farrah! And especially at night (as from 7pm) when the large groups of tourists (who do Lucca in a day trip) have left the city…


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