The central section of the Bernardini palace was constructed between 1517 and 1523 by Martino Bernardini, belonging to one of Lucca’s most powerful and eminent families. The building's façade, attributed to Francesco Marti (sculptor, painter and architect of the period) or, more commonly to Nicolao Civitali, showed the modest presence of some new architectural elements and lines characteristic of the 15th century, with mullioned windows on the first floor and long stone pillars on the ground floor.
The charming courtyard, whose columns and pillars are adorned with elegant composite capitals belonging to the Tuscan or Doric schools (and commonly used in Lucca), can almost certainly be attributed to Civitali.
The lacunar panelled ceilings, some of them ornately painted, stand out for the decorative richness of what is now the entrance hall of the Association offices.
Also typical of the period and once again displaying Gothic motifs, a beautiful fan window adorns the front door, together with two beautiful door knockers decorated with moor heads.
Towards the end of the 1700’s Bernardini added the two side wings to the palace, characterised by the narrower pilasters, the variety of stone used, and the position of the windows (set closer together). The mullioned windows on the first floor of the façade were replaced by the16th century arched ashlar windows which can still be seen today from Bernardini square.
(Text adapted from original content available at: http://www.villeepalazzilucchesi.it)