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The statue of Marie Louise of Bourbon in Piazza Napoleone in Lucca

Lucca, Piazza Napoleone, monumento a Maria Luisa Borbone
Lucca, Piazza Napoleone, monumento a Maria Luisa Borbone

Today’s visitor to the Piazza Napoleone, which is perhaps the most spectacular of the Baciocchi’s urban projects in Lucca, will not find a likeness of Napoleon, nor of his sister Élisa: the gaze that looks out over the large piazza is instead that of Marie Louise of Bourbon, who ruled the Duchy of Lucca from 1817 to 1824.

As the rulers who preceded her, Marie Louise also dedicated herself to public works, first and foremost the renovation of the Ducal Palace and the adjacent piazza. The project was entrusted to Lorenzo Nottolini, the Royal Court Architect, who, between 1817 and 1820, completely renovated the interior decoration of the building and replaced the statue of the Emperor in the middle of the piazza, which had been commissioned by Élisa just a few years earlier, with a monument portraying Marie Louise. The sculpture was made by Lorenzo Bartolini. The bas relief panels that decorated the base of the monument are kept in the National Museum of Palazzo Mansi

Statue of Marie Louise of Bourbon
Piazza Napoleone