One of our favorite towns in Tuscany is Lucca. A perfect place to visit this spring. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, while walking and discovering cobbled stones streets filled with art galleries, artisan shops, and local trattorie. If you visit Lucca in summer, you can participate in the Summer Festival in Piazza Napoleone. This event brings some of the most important musical artists in the world. This year stars like Celine Dion and John Legend will be performing. Autumn is also a great time to stop by and take part in Lucca Comics & Games convention, which usually takes place in late October/early November.
Here we gathered some suggestions on how to explore this medieval town, so let’s go!
To start is worth mentioning that Lucca can be easily explored on foot or by bike. It is a pedestrian-friendly area with limited car access. We would suggest starting by exploring the old city walls, as these are the most distinctive element of Lucca. A 4 km long panoramic walkway overlooking the city, is a great place to start your adventure. Just take a stroll and soak in the tranquillity of this town. In autumn this is the spot to capture the beauty of all the shades of orange and yellow colors.
Lucca is also known as the city of 100 churches (città delle cento chiese). As you might not be able to visit them all, we suggest focusing on the main cathedral St. Martin, located in the square of the same name.
For great views of the city the ‘’ must go’’ places are 2 towers: Torre Guinigi — easily noticed, a unique 14th-century tower on top of which you’ll find a group of holm oaks. It became one of the symbols of Lucca and it gives a breathtaking panorama. Another one is Torre delle Ore – climb the 207 steps of the wooden staircase to reach the top and admire the roofs and towers of Lucca and its surrounding mountains. You will also see its eighteenth-century clock with a manual mechanism, that is still working.
Moving on check out Palazzo Pfanner and Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro that are heart and soul of the town and should not be missed on your visit. Piazza dell’ Anfitaetro is a unique elliptical-shaped square. Previously it was a Roman amphitheater created for spectacles and gladiator games. Over time the use of the building changed, as it was fortified for military purposes. In the 19th century, Lorenzo Nottolini, an architect, restored the piazza by opening the square into its current shape. It became an urban center where the locals hang out.
The next stop is Palazzo Pfanner with its most beautiful Italian-style baroque garden. The gardens were created in 1700, by Filippo Juvarra. A real paradise full ofexotic plants, lemon trees, pines, and magnolias, decorated with gods statues. Let’s stay here for a while to relax and enjoy the scent of the lemon flowers.
You should also know that Lucca the home of Giacomo Puccini, the beloved Italian composer was born here. Giacomo is famous worldwide for his operas such as La Bohème and Madame Butterfly. His home in Lucca became a museum, where you can visit the exhibition of the rooms, manuscripts, paintings, pictures and costumes of the composer.
Let’s move on to Lucca’s food scene. Tuscan food is famous for fresh and simple ingredients such as legumes, cheeses, vegetables, and fruits. The dishes arerich in flavor, very hearty and quite filling. If you are an art and food lover you should head to Olio su Tavola, an art gallery that houses a bar and restaurant. Enjoy your meal in this enchanting spot that has also a secluded courtyard.
Another place worth dining in is La Buca di Sant’Antonio, a rustic Italian restaurant. White interior and the collection of copper pots hanging from the ceiling make it a special place. Try minestra di farro (zuppa di farro) an ancient winter soup. This is a signature dish of this region.
After the meal let’s take another passeggiata . While strolling through the narrow streets don’t miss all the charming cafes and artisan shops. Make a stop for a lovely refreshing Aperitivo or to get some original souvenirs. Visit Gioielleria Chiocchetti, a placefor those who love antique. But you will also find some modern jewelry, watches and unique pieces from the early twentieth century. Another cool spot is a local shop, family-owned called Uashmama. Check out their washable paper bags., fresh soap bars and things for the home. If you visit Lucca on the third Sunday of the month, stop at theantique market. There are more than 220 stalls and you can find anything likejewelry, pieces of furniture, vintage accessories etc.
Lucca is still not as frequently visited as Florence, or Siena but it is surely a town worth passing by. It’s a hidden gem of Tuscany and we strongly encourage you to visit it on your next visit to Tuscany.