Lucca or Luca as it was know in classical times was an important Roman town and tourists flock from all over the world to see the famous Amphitheatre and no doubt, imagine while taking refreshment in one of the many bars the gladiators entering the arena through the same arches as they did themselves. However if you continue along the main high street know as Via Fillungo, which in Roman times was simply know as the Cardo Maximus, meaning a main street that runs from north to south, opposite the Church of San Cristoforo (now an exhibition centre) and the clock tower, there is an insignificant alleyway, one of the smallest streets in the city know as via Chiasso Barletti. You might dive into it because it looks like a cute medieval street or because you notice a house beautifully frescoed with portraits of two of the cities famous operatic sons: Puccini and Catalani.
This inconsequential street holds an important place in Roman History. It was here during the conference of Lucca in 55 BC that the three Roman heavy weights Julius Caesar, Pompey and Crassus renegotiated the famous triumvirate. The accord meant that Pompey and Crassus would again stand for Consulship and after their election Caesar’s rule in Gaul would be extended by 5 years. At the end of their joint year in office, Crassus would be given the governorship of Syria to use as a base for his Parthia campaign and Pompey would govern Hispania in absentia.
The original tower house of the Barletti family is still on the corner and it is worth tipping your head back to look at this magnificent soaring structure.