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A cozy place just off the busy Strada Nova, almost invisible to distracted passers-by, whose inscription "Volto Santo" attracts numerous onlookers.

Here from about 1300 onwards there was a community of Lucchesi, large silk importers, who fled from the persecutions of the Pisans.

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Traveling along Strada Nova towards Rialto - in the San Marcuola district and immediately after the bridge named after an icon depicting the Blessed Virgin - you come across this small field on the left, distinguishable by its inscription "Volto Salto" visible directly from Rio Terà della Maddalena , on the jamb of a sub-portico.

This small courtyard, with access also from the Rio dei Servi, owes its name to the cult of the Holy Face of Jesus Christ, the name with which still today in Lucca it indicates a crucifix considered miraculous and which they worshiped in a cedar carved image of Lebanon , in addition to its reproduction on the well well. In 1308, a Lucca colony of more than 150 people asked for refuge in Venice to save themselves from the political struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines and the persecutions carried out by the two sides. The Lucchesi, producers of quality silk fabrics, found the doors open in the lagoon city which allowed them to find homes, open production activities, build a school and a place of worship, living in the city without radical changes for at least 4 centuries.

The Scuola dei Lucchesi was erected, with the permission of the Venetian government, in 1360 while ten years later, close to the church of Santa Maria dei Servi, they obtained authorization to manufacture a fully frescoed chapel, an oratory and a cemetery used for them . Finally, in 1398, a meeting room and some shelters for the poor were built on land owned by the Servite fathers. Each of these buildings was characterized by the presence, on each facade, of the image depicting the Holy Face. In 1789 the school and the apartments were razed to the ground by a terrible fire set in a warehouse containing oil in Campiello del Tagliapietra and which spread through the water; a year later, thanks to the intervention of the doge and the solidarity of the city, the buildings were then rebuilt (two tombstones still remember the fact).

Today, in the piece of land that encloses the small square, in the center, a massive well from a shaft of almost disproportionate size is visible compared to the extension of the field, which shows two faces of Jesus Christ and the coat of arms of the city of Lucca, as well as countless works posted on the facade of the building painted red. These are marble patere and bas-reliefs depicting two Marcian lions, one of which holds the Statutes of Lucca between its legs, various images of animals and a statuette of Madonna and Child. There are also two sculpted representations of the Holy Face in the area, one inside the sotoportego, leaving the camp and one along Rio Terà della Maddalena, set in a building.

Images gallery

Access to the Volto Santo square from Strada Nova.
Detail of the access to the small square from Strada Nova.
The path to get to the campiello.
The small square (or courtyard) of the Holy Face with the well well, which presents itself with the Face.
Front detail of the bas-relief depicting the Holy Face.
Side detail of the bas-relief depicting the emblem of Lucca.
A patera depicting a lion face.
A patera depicting the lion marching with the book closed.
Small sculpture of Madonna with child.
Access to the small square from the Rio dei Servi.
A patera depicting the Holy Face on leaving the small square.
Another patera depicting the Holy Face, in an adjacent building, in Strada Nova

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