Built between the 12th and 13th century, this church replaced the old Parish Church that was demolished for the re-use of its building materials at the end of the 15th century. Its interior features valuable 14th century works of art including an altar-piece from the Della Robbia tradition and a wooden sculpture linked to the Tino di Camaino studio.
The old Parish Church of Gallicano, dedicated to S. Giovanni Battista, is on the outskirts of the town, which may have been the reason why it was prematurely abandoned: although the "Estimo" of 1260 records the town as having 23 suffragan churches, S. Jacopo results as the Parish Church in 1349 and the old, by now ruined parish church was granted to the Town Council in 1485 for the recuperation of building materials for the town’s fortifications, on the condition that a new church of S. Giovanni was also built.
From this time on the church of S. Jacopo held the status of Parish Church. In 1853, a Papal Bull ordered the transferral of the church from the vicariate of Gallicano to the diocese of Massa, from which it returned to Lucca in 1992.
This 13th century church is located in the area once occupied by the fortress, in a dominant position over the small town of Gallicano. It has a single nave finished by a semi-circular apse externally concealed by the basement of the tower and other adjacent buildings.
The façade, like the rest of the building is built with squared sandstone ashlars, and decorated with a motif of small hanging arcades that surround the hut-shaped crowning of the front. The building’s left side – the only one visible, given the embankment to the right -, conserves part of the original single lancet window and a small portal from the same period, with a simple geometric decoration in the lunette. The interior features highly valuable works of art: an altar-piece with the Madonna and Child accompanied by angels and saints by the Della Robbia School, and a 14th century group of wooden statues of the Madonna and Child, traceable to the Tino di Camaino tradition.
It is possible that the 13th century wooden composition of the Madonna on the Throne with Child now found in the Oratory of the Nativity of Maria in Ponte Guelfino for security reasons, originally belonged to this church.