The Armory

The Palazzo, since its origin, was provided with a big armory, anciently called “Tersenaia”. This arsenal was always preserved with order and showed with pride to foreign visitors so that they could refer abroad the defensive capabilities of the city. From the 16th century the armory was located on the ground floor of the central area of the Palazzo. In the 18th century, the large amount of weapons from various time periods made the armory a very interesting museum. Thus it was described by Georg Christoph Martini, the Sassone, who stayed in Lucca from 1725 to 1745. In the 1799, after the battle of Trebbia, the armory was completely robbed by the Austrian army. It was impossible to save anything, not even the most important antiques.
“Under the portico (…) three big iron doors lead to the armory, well organized and kept in order. Near the entry there is a space where the soldiers meet the nobles appointed to inspect the armory. The walls are adorned with golden decorations and covered in green velvet. The basement is divided by a transverse wooden wall, and is filled with rifles, bayonets and daggers. The dividing walls leave free access to three corridors under arched doors, at the end of whom the gunpowder is stored. On both sides of the corridors are laid out the muskets on wooden racks; the rounds and the dagger's lining are hung on the vaults. There are whole armours placed on supports, like soldiers were still wearing them. In the upper rooms are stored rifles, bayonets, a large amount of guns, armours, little helmets and other cavalry's armours.
On the back wall there are two ancient swords, of whom the first, the one towards the window, belonged to Niccolò Piccinino, sent from Genova to help the people of Lucca, besieged by the Florentines; the other one belonged to the famous Castruccio Duke of Lucca, who used it in the glorious battle of 1325 against the Florentines. (…) There are enough weapons to arm 24000 men and this for the people of the city only, because the ones from the rural area, who are another 24000, are already armed.”