The San Frediano Basilica is one of the oldest churches in Lucca. It is located in the square of the same name and is dedicated to the patron saint of the city. Its striking facade is graced by a magnificent Byzantine mosaic. The highlight inside the church is a 12th century baptismal font decorated with sculptures.
San Frediano Basilica Lucca
Address: Piazza S. Frediano – 55100 Lucca. Tel. +39 058353576″. Opening hours: From 09:00 to 18:00. Entrance fee: 3 Euro.
Every year on the evening of September 13, a procession dedicated to Santa Croce begins at this church.
According to tradition, the San Frediano Basilica was founded in the 6th century by the originally Irish bishop of Lucca himself, Frediano. At that time, the church was still dedicated to San Vincenzo. In the 8th century, Frediano’s remains were buried in the church. In the meantime he had become the patron saint of Lucca and the church was re-consecrated.
The church stood outside the city walls, near the northern entrance to the city. The facade was facing west.
Around 1112 the church was restored and enlarged. At the same time, the entrance was moved to the other side.
In the 13th century the building was raised three meters and the Byzantine mosaic was placed in the facade. The only other Tuscan Church with a similar facade is the San Miniato al Monte Church in Florence.
Several modifications took place until the 16th century.
The current version of the basilica has a broad white façade. The bell tower, which was renovated in the 19th century, is located near the apse and has swallowtail battlements. On the south side are the buildings that used to form the convent of the Canonici Lateranensi until 1780.
The interior is divided into three naves, with chapels on both sides.
What to see
On the right side is a 12th century baptismal font in the form of a round vessel. The bowl is adorned with multiple sculptures by different artists. On the outside, “Events from the Life of Moses” and ” Passage through the Red Sea” are depicted. The Good Shepherd can be seen, along with six prophets. The central cup is decorated with Apostles and masks from which water falls.
The chapel next door contains the mortal remains of Santa Zita.
At the end of the right nave are paintings and sacred objects.
The reredos behind the altar of the Cappella Trenta was made by Jacopo della Quercia.
The Sant’Agostino Chapel is located in the left nave. The “Miracle of San Frediano” and “Displacement of the Holy Face” frescoes were painted by Amico Aspertini.
The fresco at the main entrance, depicting the Madonna, four saints and a lute-playing angel, was also painted by Aspertini.