LUCCA SEEN THROUGH THE LEGEND OF LUCIDA MANSI
Lucida’s first husband Vincenzo Diversi died quite early, leaving her a young and attractive widower, who soon married the old and rich Gaspare di Nicolao Mansi. The Mansi family was very wealthy and well-known throughout Europe (XVI Century) thanks to the silk trade. The marriage got very gossiped, due to the age gap of the couple and to the bride’s stunning beauty. Lucida developed a strong desire to escape reality and to enjoy life in all its ways, from unbridled luxury, to feasts, parties and countless young lovers. She eventually became so vain, to cover an entire room of Villa Mansi in Segromigno with mirrors, to be able to admire herself from all sides.
Lucida died from the plague on February 12th, 1649 and was buried in the Chiesa dei Cappuccini in Lucca, in the crypt dedicated to her family.
Lucida Mansi, was the daughter of a noble Lucchese family, a very attractive and libertine woman. She was so cruel and keen on physical pleasures to kill her own husband and replace him with countless young lovers. People say she even killed her partners after their encounters, by throwing them into trap-doors bristling with razor sharp knives.
One morning Lucida noticed a tiny wrinkle on her face, the sign that her beauty was fading away with time. She cried and sobbed desperately, until a handsome young man appeared in front of her, offering her another 30 years of youth in exchange for her soul. The young man was indeed the Devil himself. Lu
cida accepted the deal and went on with her dissolute and cruel life; everyone around her grew old, while she remained fresh and beautiful.
Thirty years later, on the night of August 14th 1623, the Devil came back to claim what had been promised to him; Lucida suddenly remembered the pact and tried not to keep her part of the agreement, by running up the Torre delle Ore to stop the bell, that was about to knock the 12 midnight strokes. She eventually failed, so the Devil put her on a burning carriage, and took her to the Botanical Garden, where he drowned her in the pond.
People say that if you dip your head in the pond, you can still see Lucida’s sleeping face at the bottom. When full moon arises you can even see the carriage taking her to hell and hear her screaming. Some other people claim that Lucida’s ghost can be seen in Villa Mansi in Segromigno or in another Villa in Monsagrati, where she once used to meet and finally kill her lovers.