Torre Giunigi and San Frediano Church in Lucca

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The Torre Giunigi was built in 1300 by the Guinigi family, wealthy merchants who planted secular oak trees on the top of it as a symbol of rebirth.
The Tower is one of the few examples of the numerous towers and steeples that flourished throughout the Fourteenth century in Lucca. Their height was an element of prestige for the city’s leading families, who competed in building towers. The Guinigi Tower is a typical example of Romanesque-Gothic Lucchese architecture, constructed with bricks and ornamented with trefoils, fourfold, badges, frames and plates.
The Guinigi Tower is made unique by the presence of the small oak tree garden at its summit. The garden is divided into three beds where five secular oaks are planted. From the roof garden of the tower, now property of the municipalyty of Lucca, a splendid panorama of the city and mountains that surround it can be enjoyed.
The Tower also keeps an ancient legend. The tallest tree was planted by Paolo Guinigi and it is said that when he was captured by Francesco Sforza and then imprisoned in the castle, his death was announced by the tree that lost all its leaves.

San Frediano Church
According to the tradition it was the same San Frediano, bishop of Lucca and of Irish origin, who founded the church, originally dedicated to St. Vincent. The church is mentioned for the first time as “basilica Longobardorum” in a 685 document. It had a considerable importance since the second half of the Twelfth century, when it became one of the most important centers for the spread of the Gregorian liturgical reform.
The late Thirteenth century mosaic on the facade is quite impressive, and a very rare element in the Roman style (in Tuscany, the only other facade decorated with a mosaic is that of San Miniato al Monte in Florence). It depicts the Christ the Redeemer who ascends to heaven in an almond carried by two angels. In the midst of the Apostles is missing the figure of the Virgin, cut off by a modern window. The style of the work is admittedly byzantine and is referred to the School of Lucca Berlinghieri.
The church’s interior is divided into three naves, and is regulated by two magnificent arched colonnades. On the sides there are several chapels, built between the XIV and the XVI century.
From an history of art point of view, the most significant chapels are that of S. Augustine, with frescoes by the painter Emiliano Aspertini Amico (1474-1552), and that of the Tenta family work of the Sienese sculptor Jacopo della Quercia (1374-about 1438).
Finally the noteworthy Twelfth century beautiful baptismal font, which is located in a space used as a baptistery, to the right of the entrance. The beautiful reliefs depicting the stories of Moses, the Apostles and the Mesis, by Tuscan and Lombard masters.