Lucca Travel Guide. Everything you need to know about the Tuscan city

Lucca Travel and Tourism Guide

Tired of climbing steep hills to get to this Tuscan town? Lucca may be the answer. With its imposing 16th-century ramparts still wrapped around a compact village sitting on level ground, Lucca offers the occasional stroller a wonderful opportunity to walk with that heavy Tuscan lunch without breaking a sweat.

Lucca: Location.

Lucca is located on an alluvial plateau by the Serchio River, 19 meters above sea level.

Lucca is located 30 kilometers northeast of Pisa airport and 85 kilometers west of Florence in northern Tuscany. Lucca was an important crossroads in Roman times, you will see it on a grid of main streets from north to south and in the elliptical plan “Piazza Anfiteatro”. North of Lucca are the Apuan Alps with their famous marble quarries, spas and mineral springs, streams, forests and caves.

How to get to and from Lucca

The Lucca train station is located two blocks from the ramparts (the entrance to Porta San Pietro) on the south side of the city in Piazza Ricasoli. Lucca is on the Florence-Viareggio rail line, with frequent flights to Florence. It takes from 70 minutes to an hour and a half to get from Lucca to Florence. Here’s a map of Lucca with the train station, suggested walking route, and major attractions.

Buses run daily to Florence and Pisa and depart from Piazza Verdi, adjacent to the tourist office.

Lucca is on the A11 freeway between Viareggio and Florence.

Lucca from above: Guinigi Tower

Casa Guinigi was the fifteenth-century home of Lucca’s leading family. As wealthy people of the time, they built a tower. This one, however, is unique for the oaks that grow out of it (and down into the room below).

You can climb up and get great views of Lucca in all directions. Check your camera battery before you go – it’s 230 steps back .

Giacomo Puccini

Lucca was the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini (in 1858), one of Italy’s most famous opera composers. Today you can visit his birthplace, now a museum, in Via Corte S. Lorenzo, 9 (via di Poggio) in Piazza Cittadella, with a bronze statue of Puccini in the center. The Puccini Festival, held at the open-air theater in nearby Torre del Lago, allows opera lovers to experience inspiration in the neighborhood where Puccini chose to live. The theater opens directly onto Lake Massaccioli with the Apuan Alps in the background. The Puccini Festival is held in May and August. See the official Puccini Festival website for more information. If you go, take good mosquito repellent.

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Lucca Ramparts

Lucca is completely surrounded by 16th century walls. Trees were planted in the 19th century and the ramparts are now walkable or bikeable. It’s about three miles around the oval. Bicycles can be rented; the summit is paved.

Where to stay

If you like hotels, check out the highest rated hotels in Lucca. If you need to stay near the train station and behind the walls, consider Hotel Rex, very convenient if you’re taking the train; you can drop your luggage, cross the street and be inside the walls and very close to the action in a couple of minutes.

If you prefer vacation rentals, HomeAway lists more than 1,000 in the Lucca area.

Where to eat

Lucca offers some pretty good Tuscan food. The restaurant most talked about is Buca di Sant’Antonio. There is some farro soup, one of the oldest dishes in Italy and a favorite of Giacomo Puccini and Ezra Pound, according to the restaurant’s website. For an informal and inexpensive meal, try Trattoria da Leo. A favorite of Lucca’s traditional cuisine is Trattoria da Giulio, Via delle Conce, 45, in the northwest quadrant of the city, right near the walls.

Lucca Villas

If you have a car or find a tour, you can visit the Villas of Lucca, a series of great villas and their formal gardens located north of Lucca and open to the public. If you spend the whole tour, you will find yourself in Collodi, the birthplace of Pinocchio, where you can visit Pinocchio Park, great for children.

Famous Churches

The Romanesque Cathedral of San Martino, completely rebuilt between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, contains a wooden figure of Christ Volto Santo (Holy Face). The Volto Santo is believed to be the face of Christ carved by Nicodemus, who was present at the crucifixion.

The facade of San Michele in Foro in Piazza San Michele is probably the most photographed church in Lucca. If it looks complicated, it’s because they spent all the money on it, and they didn’t have enough to raise the church as high as the façade. The columns on the facade are all different, and the archangel crowning the church has retractable wings to survive strong winds. Puccini sang in the choir here. Open daily from 7:40 to noon and 3 to 6.

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Lucca in a different light

If you happen to be around Lucca in September, the Luminaria di Santa Croce is a candlelit old town called “il Volto Santo,” a wooden sculpture of Christ carried through the cobblestone streets of the old town to the Duomo.

Other sights

Of course, as in any city, the main attraction is wandering the medieval streets and seeing the small details, which are usually hundreds of years old. Lucca is a great city to walk in because there are very few cars inside the walls. Learn more about Lucca’s main attractions.

Lucca Weather and Climate.

You’ll never get bogged down inside the walls of Lucca; There are always shady streets on a hot summer day. For historical climate and current weather, see. In Lucca Travel Weather.

Around Lucca.

There are many fun day trips from Lucca.

Barga The town of Barga North of Lucca, on the edge of the Garfagnana region and the Apuan Alps (Alpi Apuane), is considered one of the most beautiful medieval fortress towns in Tuscany, but it has few tourists.

Pietrasanta A small medieval coastal town in the foothills of the Apuan Alps, it is the place where Michelangelo came for his best stone. It is still an important center for Marble work, and you will find many artisans here.

Torre del Lago Puccini is a small town on the shores of Lake Massaccioli, where the Puccini Festival is held. Lovers of the lake will love the lake.

Florence is 1 hour and 18 minutes from Lucca by train, and there is a cheaper bus.

Lucca

Lucca (Italy) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main sights of Lucca with descriptions, guides and maps.

City of Lucca (Italy)

Lucca is a city in Western Italy in the region of Tuscany. It is located on a plain in the valley of the Serchio River in the northwestern part of Tuscany. Lucca is a small, charming city of merchants and weavers, known for its historical and cultural monuments, its well-preserved historic center, and its 16th-century city walls, which are virtually intact. The climate is Mediterranean, with dry, hot summers and cool, rainy winters.

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Panoramic view of the city

Panorama of the city

Things to do (Lucca):

Natural wine and the Devil's Bridge in undiscovered Lucca

From €100 per tour.

Natural wine and the Devil’s Bridge in undiscovered Lucca

Stroll through the old town and drink biodynamic wine in a Baroque villa

Lucca - City of a Hundred Churches

€79 per excursion

Lucca – City of a Hundred Churches

Medieval atmosphere, coziness and romance in Tuscany

Tourist information

  1. Population: 89.4 thousand.
  2. Area – 185.8 square kilometers.
  3. Language – Italian.
  4. Currency – the euro.
  5. Visa – Schengen.
  6. Time – Central European UTC +1, in summer +2.
  7. The main shopping street Via Fillungo crosses the historic center from north to south. Here you can find a variety of Italian designer stores, such as Missoni, Armani, Max Maria, etc.
  8. Only in Lucca you can try a special sweet bread in the form of a small baguette or a bun flavored with anise and raisins. It is called Buccellato.
  9. Most local restaurants and many stores may be closed from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  10. Bars and other similar establishments can be found in the areas of San Colombano, San Michele.
  11. You can drink tap water in Lucca.

History

The settlement was founded by the Romans in the 2nd century BC. Although there is evidence that the Etruscans lived here before the Romans. It is interesting to note that the layout of the old town and some of the streets has remained virtually unchanged.

During the Middle Ages, Lucca played an important role in trade, as the routes from Rome, Florence, Parma and Pisa converged here. In the 8th century the city was the seat of the Lombard princes. After the collapse of the Carolingian Empire in Lucca was the seat of the rulers of Tuscany, until in the 12th century they moved to Florence.

Lucca, Old Town

Lucca, old town

In the later Middle Ages the city did not lose its importance. Lucca grew rich through trade (especially the sale of silk) and weaving. In the 15th century, the city lost its regional supremacy to Florence. At the beginning of the 19th century, during the Napoleonic wars, Lucca became part of the Principality, which belonged to Bonaparte’s sister Elisa. After the defeat of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna, the Duchy of the same name was formed and became part of Tuscany in the mid-19th century.

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How to get there

The nearest airport is in Pisa just 20 minutes by train. However, from the airport there are no direct trains. You must first go to Pisa and then to the train station Lucca. Trains go every 30 minutes. Tickets cost just over 3 euros. Lucca is also on the Viareggio-Florence line (Santa Maria Novella). Trains from the capital of Tuscany run every hour. Tickets cost 7 euros.

Attractions

The most important attractions in Lucca.

Old Town

The old city

The old city of Lucca is very charming and interesting. Its main highlight is the chain of city walls, which is 4 km long. The fortifications of the city once included 11 towers and 6 gates. The walls are 12 meters high and up to 30 meters thick at the base. They were built by Flemish engineers in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Porta San Pietro

Porta San Pietro

We recommend seeing the old city gates, in particular Porta San Pietro on the south side, Porta Santa Maria on the north side and Porta San Donato on the west side.

Cathedral

The Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. Martin is a masterpiece of Romanesque style. It was built in the 13th century on the site of an earlier church. The cathedral stands out with its beautiful columns and rich interior, to which many famous masters had “applied” their hands. On the right is the massive 69-meter-high bell tower made of light travertine and brick. Inside the cathedral on the right is the famous stone sculpture of St. Martin and the Beggar, dating from the early 13th century. It is considered one of the best examples of Romanesque art in Lucca. Also prominent in the interior are a 15th-century pulpit by Civitali, paintings by Ghirlandaio, a sculpture of John the Evangelist by Jacopo della Curcia, and stained-glass windows. In the left transept is the early 18th-century tomb of Ilaria del Carretto and one of the cathedral’s main treasures, the Volto Santo (depiction of Christ on the Cross).

On the north side of the cathedral is Piazza Antelminelli and a neoclassical fountain designed by Lorenzo Nottolini. The fountain is the terminus of the monumental aqueduct coming from the hills of Lucca. In the cathedral square you can also see the palace and the garden. Next to the palace is the church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata and the baptistery.

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Guinigi Tower

Guinigi Tower

The Guinigi Tower is one of the symbols of Lucca, a tall tower in the heart of the old city with oaks growing on top of it. The tower is 44 meters high and can be climbed. This structure is part of two palaces built in the 15th century. Now they house the national museum.

Basilica of St. Michael

Church of St. Michael

The Church of St. Michael is a beautiful 13th-century church with a marble facade, columns and an elegant bell tower. The interior has preserved its Romanesque character and contains many valuable works of art. The square of the same name is lined with old stone and brick buildings, with a Renaissance palace standing out to the southwest.

Not far from the church is a large square dedicated to Napoleon, where Palazzo Ducale, the residence of the rulers since the time of Castruccio, stands. To the southwest is the church of San Romano, built by the Dominicans in the 13th century. To the northeast of the square is the small church of San Giusto, built in the 12th century.

Generally, Lucca is rich in ancient sacral structures.

Church of San Frediano

San Frediano

San Frediano is a beautiful 12th century basilica built on the site of an older 6th century church. The religious structure features a beautiful interior and architecture that combines several architectural styles at once.

Roman Amphitheatre

Roman Amphitheatre

Not far from San Frediano is the ancient square of the Roman amphitheater. This strange oval space is surrounded by multi-story buildings and was once the arena of an ancient structure. It is interesting that the buildings follow the contour of massive stone walls and were built on the foundations of the ancient arena. The amphitheater was built in the second century BC and was largely destroyed during the barbarian invasions. Now its fragments lie a few meters below street level.

Interesting tours

Hidden corners of Venice

€200 per tour

Hidden corners of Venice

Medieval, graceful, fragile – walk through the most authentic quarters of the city and comprehend its soul

Rome - sightseeing tour of the main sites and the undiscovered ghetto

€120 per excursion

Rome – a sightseeing tour of the major sites and the undiscovered ghetto

Follow the city’s journey from antiquity to modern times and learn about the people of the past and present

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