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The statue of Charles III of Bourbon in Lucca

A statue that changes heads, a portrait cancelled out and renewed: this is the image of the sovereigns, this is the image of power, and this is what happens when power changes hands. In 1807, a competition was announced in Lucca for the commission of a statue of Napoleon to be placed in Piazza Napoleon. The winner was the sculptor Pietro Fontana, but when the negotiations began for the purchase of the necessary block of marble, preference shifted to the sculptor Leopoldo Vannelli for the lower cost of his estimate for the work. Fontana’s complaints were in vain and on 12 March 1813, the marble was transported to Vannelli’s studio. But the work was still not finished when the Baciocchi left Lucca.

In 1817, the new sovereign, Marie Louise of Bourbon, had the statue transformed into a likeness of her father, Charles III of Spain, after having the head of Napoleon replaced. In 1822, the monument was placed in Piazza Napoleon, but it was soon removed in favour of one dedicated to Marie Louise herself. The statue of Charles III was therefore moved to the bastion of S. Paolino and, after the Second World War, was set up in the garden of the Museum of Villa Guinigi.


Portrait of Charles III of Bourbon
National Museum of Villa Guinigi
Via Quarquonia

The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 8 AM to 7.30 PM and closed Mondays and holidays

Admission ticket: full 4 euros, reduced 2 euros; free up to 18 years of age and over 65; cumulative ticket available for entrance for Palazzo Mansi (6.50 euros full, 3.25 euros from 18 to 25 years of age)