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Palazzo Matteucci and Palazzo Froussard in Lucca

In 1805, Napoleon assigned the Principality of Lucca to his sister Élisa and her husband, Felice Baciocchi. According to the Constitution of 24 June 1805, all of the public affairs of the Principality of Lucca needed to refer to two sole Ministers of State, the election of whom was reserved – the first time – to Emperor Napoleon. Luigi Matteucci was selected as minister of Justice, of the Interior and of Foreign Affairs, and in later years would also assume further posts. Next to Matteucci, the other fundamental element of the Baciocchi’s governmental organization came in the form of a Frenchman who arrived in Italy after the princes, Jean–Baptiste Froussard, who became Secretary of State and of the Cabinet.

That which might seem like a mere if also important excerpt of the institutional history of the Principality instead played a fundamental role in the changes of the urban fabric of Lucca, since both important men of state also became visible cornerstones of a large portion of the city, the area around the newly constructed Porta Elisa (Elisa Gate), which in fact assumed its own configuration around the Froussard and Matteucci palazzos. In this way, life at court, incarnated in this case in the state residences of the two major officials in the Baciocchi government, faced onto new city streets, the western pole of the system that from Porta Elisa travelled along the homonymous street inspired by the Parisian Rue de Rivoli, leading to the heart of power in Piazza Napoleone.

And so Palazzo Froussard and Palazzo Matteucci were created with different and clearly recognizable characteristics as compared to those of Lucca palazzos, since both derived from French–inspired models of the early nineteenth century. The urban effect of the whole was based on the continuity of the alignments and on the current Neoclassical portico, an element that unified the main facade facing the street. Along the back facades of the buildings were shady gardens, intimate projections of the official character of the sites that were however clearly visible from the city walls.

Palazzo Matteucci now belonging to the Sisters of Santa Maria
via Elisa, 40

Visible only from the outside
Tel/fax: +39 0583 491974

Palazzo Froussard now Sodini
via Elisa, 54
Lucca (LU)

Visible only from the outside