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The Archives and the Trapea

The archive of the Republic of Lucca was organized in three different areas, with two of them housed in the Elder's Palace. The first one, the Trapea, was the secret archive of the Republic: important documents, the emperor's certificates, statutes, correspondence with foreign governments and valuable things like codes and jewels were stored there. The Trapea was kept under surveillance by the Major Chancellor and was located in the central area of the Palazzo. The second one was the government's archive, composed of the archives from the individual Republic's judiciaries. From 1369 to the end of the Republic these papers were stored in the chancellor's offices, located in the various areas of the Palazzo, where they lived. The third section was the ancient “Camera librorum” , wich was then renamed “Archivio dei Notai”. Since 1377 it was located in some buildings and a tower in the southern area of Piazza Napoleone. Notarial records and books from the court and the fiscal judiciaries were conserved there. The citizens of Lucca were always jealous about the preservation of the documents that proved the properties of the State, guaranteed the citizen's ones and allowed the mutual control of the conduct between the judiciaries. In 1542 the General Council instituted the so-called “Offizio Sopra le Scritture”. It was composed of three citizens who had to monitor the preservation and the organization of the State's documents. To understand how much the citizens of Lucca were attached to their papers, it's enough to remember how in 1743 the Chancellor Marco Antonio Loriani was sentenced to death because he stole and sold a big amount of documents. In the Napoleonic period the archives were transferred and damaged. Only in 1822, with the purchase of Palazzo Guidiccioni and thanks to Maria Luisa of Borbone's interest, they were stored in a new location, the State Archive, where you can consult them even today.