The historic walled city of Lucca offers an almost perfectly preserved slice of medieval architecture and Tuscan charm in its narrow winding fortified streets. Situated on a plain at the foot of the Apuan Alps and less than half an hour from the coast, this charming city offers historic charm as well a delightful setting. The perfect place to explore and relax over a glass or two of wine under the Tuscan sun.
Although Lucca can be explored in a day, a longer stay is recommended to soak up its true atmosphere. It also makes the perfect base to explore nearby Pisa and Florence as well as the surrounding north Tuscany countryside.
What to do
Lucca's handsome piazzas, shady promenades and traffic free streets make it the perfect destination to explore by foot or bike. The city is small and flat with easy to navigate terrain, making it one of the most bike friendly locations in Italy.
A great way to start exploring is along Lucca's old city walls. The only walls in all of Italy that are completely accessible by foot or bike, you will find its 4km of panoramic walkways offer a unique way to explore the city, as well as plenty of shady spots to cool off and playgrounds along the way.
A visit to the "city of one hundred churches" wouldn't be complete without a trip to one of it's many religious buildings. Head to the beautiful Cathedral of San Martino, behind its 11th century façade you will find a gothic style interior containing several important works of art. Other notable churches worth a visit include the church of San Frediano, home to a 13th century mosaic, and the church of San Michele in Foro, an impressive building topped by a winged, bronze statue.
If you're feeling energetic, a climb to the top of the Guinigi tower is a must. At the top of this tall building you will discover its unusual hanging garden as well as the most spectacular view of this delightful city.
Finally for a relaxing drink head to the oval shaped Piazza Anfiteatro, the perfect spot for an afternoon coffee break or aperitivo.
What to eat
Lucca offers no shortage of restaurants in its narrow cobbled streets and there really is something for everyone. For authentic Tuscan recipes, at a reasonable price, head to Trattoria da Giulio. Located in the centre of Lucca, you will find perfectly cooked food, great service and a buzzing atmosphere at this popular local restaurant. Be sure to check out their daily specials.
For fine food in a stunning setting try Ristorante Gigolo. Situated in the splendidly frescoed, 18th century Palazzo Arnolfini this delightful restaurant offers traditional Tuscan food with a modern twist. Admire the stunning setting whilst sipping a complimentary prosecco in this beautiful restaurant.
Situated 7km west of town, and a favourite amongst locals, you will find Villa Bongi. Set in a perfectly pretty salmon pink mansion, this restaurant and its surrounding terrace offer the perfect spot to escape the city's stifling summer heat. Dine on traditional Tuscan fare. For a cooling Gelato join the line of locals at Grom. Here you will find natural, organic ice cream in a variety of exciting flavours.
How to get there
Lucca is easy to reach by both car and public transport thanks to its location on the main roads and rail lines between Florence, Pisa and Viareggio. If arriving by car it is worth noting the old city is closed off to vehicles or reserved for residents. You will therefore have to park outside the city's walls and head in on foot.
The easiest way to arrive is by train, with its central station and fast trains from Pisa (15-20 mins) Viareggio (20 mins) and Florence (1 hour 20 mins). The nearest airport is at Pisa from here you can take a train into town via a change at Pisa Centrale.
You will also find airports at Florence (56km), Bologna (98km) and Genoa (146km).
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