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The Festival of Santa Croce

September 11, 2022 @ 10:00 am - September 14, 2022 @ 11:00 pm

Every year the city of Lucca celebrates Santa Croce in great style. The events take place over the course of a few days, in mid-September, and include the evocative Luminara di Santa Croce, held through the streets and squares of the historic center, lit up with thousands of lights and candles, while people in medieval costume parade through and mix with the onlookers.

The nighttime procession follows a very specific protocol and itinerary – specifically, the “miraculous route” of the Volto Santo, the wooden crucifix housed in the Cathedral of San Martino, the center of local religious life. The reliquary was transported from Luni to Lucca and deposited in the church of San Frediano where it was venerated.

The court procession opens with the Stendardo del Volto Santo, a work painted by the Lucchese artist Michele Marucci at the end of the 19th century; next up is the Croce di fiori (Flower cross), carried out each year by the flower cultivators of Viareggio.

The itinerary begins in the basilica of San Frediano, continues along via Fillungo, and then moves toward piazza San Michele, piazza del Griglio and, finally, ends in piazza San Martino.

For some years now, the tradition of the mottettone has also been reinstated – a performance of a polyphonic composition, usually composed specifically for the occasion by predominantly Lucchese musicians, who close out the evening celebrations in the cathedral.

The festival continues on the next day as well. On September 14, a solemn mass is held, giving participants the chance to venerate the Volto Santo which, according to legend, arrived from the Holy Land and reproduces some of Christ’s key features.

September 11-14, 2022

  • Every day at 9pm
    Piattafoma San Frediano and the towers of the Republic
    Re-enactment of the alarm of the militias and of the ancient communication system from the towers
  • September 12, 5.30 pm
    Auditorium san Romano
    Concerto della Santa Croce. traditional concert in homage to the Volto Santo of Lucca
    Associazione culturale Laboratorio Brunier
  • September 13
    Luminara di Santa Croce
    Traditional procession through the city in memory of the translation of the Volto Santo from the Basilica of San Frediano to the Cathedral of San Martino
    10 am, Piazzale Verdi – “Ante Diem Sanctae Crucis” Campo Militare, historical re-enactments
    6 pm – Departure of the night procession
    9 pm – Execution of the Mottettone at the arrival of the faithful
  • September 14, 10 am
    Cathedral of San Martino
    Esaltazione della Santa Croce


September 11, 2022 @ 10:00 am
September 14, 2022 @ 11:00 pm


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