What to see in Lucca during your holidays in Lucca.
Lucca is like a living museum under the open sky.
Danitalia has offices in Lucca and Elisabeth, who owns the agency, has lived 20 years in this wonderful city. Lucca is our home.
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Lucca is close to well-known cities such as Florence, Siena, Pisa, and Montepulciano.
There are many reasons why one becomes fascinated by the whole Lucca province. There is actually not like in other Tuscan cities a specific monument that must be seen – it is the atmosphere, the city life, the smells, the slow pace, the food and much more.
What to see in Lucca province.
The contrasting and varied landscape from sea and beaches at the coast in Versilia to the Garfagnana Mountains and plenty of lush vine-clad hills and olive groves. Centrally located in Northern Tuscany with all the famous tourist cities within short driving distance.
The range of delicious local food grown in the area such a fragrant extra virgin olive oil, DOC red and white wine, homemade pasta, spelt flour from the ancient wheat sort grown in the Garfagnana mountains and fruits such as peaches, apricots and figs from the Morianese area north of Lucca.
What to see within the Lucca city walls:
- Le Mura – Lucca is the only city in Italy that still has a fully intact city wall. It was built from 1544 until 1645 and is 12 meters high and has a diameter of 4,3 km around the inner city. A walk on top the wall is a “must do”. Be careful! Keep an eye on your children when you walk on the ancient wall. Because of poor shielding, every year there are casualties due to people, old as well as young, falling down from the wall. You risk getting a fine if you do not stay on the paths when walking here.
- Via Fillungo – The main shopping street in Lucca. It is said to be one of the most elegant in Italy, as it winds its way through the elegant noble houses and high towers. However, do also walk away from this beautiful street and “run wild” in the alleys next to it.
- Piazza Anfiteatro – The ancient roman amphitheater is located in the centre of the city next to Via Fillingo. It has a beautiful oval shape and here you will find a number of cafés and small restaurants where you can enjoy a drink or coffee while the children are running around playing with the doves.
- Il Duomo – the cathedral is called San Martino. Right next to it is the museum, Museo della Cathadrele, with many important art treasures.
- Chiesa S. Frediano – is one of the prettiest churches in the city. Located on Via Fillungo not far from the amphitheater.
- Chiesa S. Michele – located on the central square of the city. The construction of this impressive church was started in year 1070, and indoors are several treasures from the 1500s.
- Palazzo Pfanner – Privately owned antique villa with a beautiful garden. Film set for several movies, e.g. “Portraits of a Lady” by Jane Campion starring Nicole Kidman. Possible to visit the villa and/or the garden.
- Museo Villa Guinigi is one of the oldest buildings in Lucca with plentiful of local art treasures. A beautiful introduction to the city.
- Botanical Garden at Via del Giardino 14. Many interesting plants and trees.
- Mercato del Carmine – the old and still in active use marketplace inside the walls. Here you can find fruit and vegetables but also a butchery and fishmonger etc. Open in the morning every day.
- The antiquities streets – Via del Battistero and Via del Gallo. These small narrow streets are located next to the cathedral. Here you will find shops where antiquities from all over Italy are sold and renovated. The third weekend of every month a street antiquity market is held here.
- Via dei Fossi – a somewhat forgotten and tucked street with a little stream in the middle. Runs from the Botanical Garden to Piazzale Varannini. Worn and distinctive facades and simple atmosphere. There are sometimes fish in the river! Nice for the kids.
- Chiasso Barletti, behind the church S. Michele – on this spot the emperors Cesare, Pompeo and Crasso met in
56AC! Feel the medieval atmosphere in the narrow streets! There is a stone to mark the spot on the corner.
- Villa Buonvisi Bottini can be dated back to year 1566. Admire the fresco painted ceilings from the 1500s (open until noon) or enjoy the lush garden surrounding the villa right in the middle of the city.
- Fondazione Ragghianti is an old monastery that has been restored and now opens for art exhibitions and other cultural events. Really beautiful and very evocative building. Do also visit the little church S. Micheletto that today is part of the exhibition areas.
- Torre delle Ore in Via Fillungo or Torre Guinigi in Via Guinigi – it is definitely worth climbing the stairs in one of the towers open for the public.
Holidays in Lucca - Do not miss the walls around Lucca
Lucca is one of the only cities in Italy where the city walls, dating back to the 16th century, are still intact. The impressive walls, with interior walk ways, were built to protect the rich lucchese people from the surrounding cities, especially Pisa and Florence. It is said that the people of Lucca paid in order not to be attacked!
The wall has since become a public park with beautiful trees, picnic areas, playgrounds and the ability to go all around the city.
If it is your first Lucca holiday, we recommend you to rent some bicycles and do the bike ride on top the ancient city wall 4,3 km around the city centre. It is a great opportunity to get an overview of Lucca before you start exploring the centre. From the city wall is a magnificent view over the labyrinth of narrow medieval streets, towers, monuments, churches and houses with flower-decked balconies. To the other side of the wall are now green areas where the moat used to be and a fantastic view over the new part of Lucca and the mountains in the background.
Here on top of the wall is full of life; playing children, runners, card playing friends and ice cream eating lovers, especially at Sundays where it might be a bit difficult to find a free bench.
After the trip around the wall, stop by “Veneta”, the best ice cream bar in the city, to get refreshment before you explore the narrow streets and alleys of the city centre.
To walk here is like being set back in time. Some of the houses might look a bit ramshackle but don’t let yourself be fooled by this. Here is a strict law to preserve the buildings original facades and for example it is not allowed to hang colorful signs outside the stores.
The cityscape is characterized by high towers. These were built by influential families - the higher the tower, the richer the family. Enter the towers Torre delle Ore in Via Fillungo or Torre Guinigi for a unique views.
Give yourself time just to walk around and get a little lost in the small winding streets, absorb the impressions, take a rest at one of the many medieval squares, enjoy an aperitivo and look forward to the dinner with homemade pasta, DOC wine from the hills around Lucca, for dessert almond cake with Vino Santo and finishing with an original Italian espresso coffee.