The Minor Basilica of St. Lawrence in Lucina is dedicated to St. Lawrence of Rome, deacon and martyr. The name 'Lucina' derives from that of the Roman matron of the AD 4th century who permitted Christians to erect a church on the site. Putatively, Pope Marcellus I hid on the site during the persecutions of Roman Emperor Maxentius, and Pope Damasus I was elected there in AD 366. Pope Sixtus III consecrated a church on the site in 440 AD. The church was first reconstructed by Pope Paschal II in the early 12th century.
In 1606, Pope Paul V assigned the basilica to the order of Clerics Regular Minor. Cosimo Fanzago completely renovated the interior in the 17th century, including conversion of the lateral aisles of the basilica into chapels. The ceiling was also frescoed by the Neapolitan Mometto Greuter.
In the 19th century, in a subsequent restoration of the interior that Pope Pius I commissioned the Baroque decorations in the nave were replaced with frescoes that Roberto Bompiani painted.
In the rebuilding of 1650, the aisled basilical plan was destroyed and the lateral naves were replaced by Baroque chapels, which were then leased to noble families to decorate and use as mausolea. This was done by inserting walls behind the piers of the arcades. The arcades themselves have solid, square piers with imposts. The flat ceiling is coffered, gilded, and decorated with rosettes and has a painting of the Apotheosis of St. Lawrence in the central panel. This ceiling was made in 1857 under Pope Pius IX.
Guido Reni's Christ on the Cross (1639-40) is visible above the high altar, framed by six Corinthian columns of black marble. Below the altar is a reliquary in which is preserved the gridiron on which tradition maintains that St. Lawrence was martyred. The marble throne of Pope Paschal II in the apse behind the high altar has an inscription that records the translation to the basilica of its relics of St. Lawrence of Rome. A Madonna and Child with John of Nepomuk and Archangel Michael by Onofrio Avellino hangs in the apse behind the high altar.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.