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Lucca became prosperous through the silk trade that began in the eleventh century, and came to rival the silks of Byzantium.
During the tenth–eleventh centuries Lucca was the capital of the feudal margraviate of Tuscany, more or less independent but owing nominal allegiance to the Holy Roman Emperor.
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For this he was nominated by Louis IV the Bavarian to become duke of Lucca.
Castracani's tomb is in the church of San Francesco.
After the death of Matilda of Tuscany, the city began to constitute itself an independent commune, with a charter in 1160.
For almost 500 years, Lucca remained an independent republic.
During the eighth-tenth centuries Lucca was a center of Jewish life, the Jewish community being led by the Kalonymos family (which at some point during this time migrated to Germany to become a major component of proto-Ashkenazic Jewry).
Lucca managed, at first as a democracy, and after 1628 as an oligarchy, to maintain its independence alongside of Venice and Genoa, and painted the word Libertas on its banner until the French Revolution in 1789.
Lucca had been the second largest Italian city state (after Venice) with a republican constitution ("comune") to remain independent over the centuries.
Occupied by the troops of Louis of Bavaria, the city was sold to a rich Genoese, Gherardino Spinola, then seized by John, king of Bohemia.
Pawned to the Rossi of Parma, by them it was ceded to Mastino II della Scala of Verona, sold to the Florentines, surrendered to the Pisans, and then nominally liberated by the emperor Charles IV and governed by his vicar.
The rectangular grid of its historical centre preserves the Roman street plan, and the Piazza San Michele occupies the site of the ancient forum.