This introductory chapter discusses the Tuscan city-state of Lucca in the 15th century. It sets out the purpose of the book, which is explore through the Lucchese case-study a range of issues which are central to current Italian Renaissance scholarship. The story is of a highly distinctive political entity striving to find and defend its place in the changing and largely hostile arena of an Italian politics dominated by the ambitions of a dwindling number of larger territorial states.
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