San Michele in Foro takes its name from its location – the basilica was built over the site of Lucca's ancient Roman forum. The original church dates back to the eighth century, although the one seen today was built in the 11th century. The 13th-century facade is one of the highlights of the basilica, with its graceful arches and intricate carvings. It's noted as one of the best examples of the Pisan Romanesque style, and – as a bonus – visitors can see an open staircase on the backside that climbs over the roof of the church.
By contrast, the church's interior is more sedate and not very well-lit, although there is a painting by 15th-century master Filippino Lippi of Saints Helen, Jerome, Sebastian, and Roch. There is also a statue of the Madonna at the back of the church that was once on the facade.
The church is open in summer from 7:40 a.m. to noon and from 3 to 6 p.m., and in winter from 9 a.m. to noon and from 3 to 5 p.m. Admission is free.