Consider visiting Lucca, Italy, if you’ve been considering a historical and culturally focused trip to Europe.
Italy may conjure images of exquisite regional cuisine, winding cobblestone alleyways, and an abundance of history and culture. If you have been considering visiting Tuscany, then Lucca should be at the top of your list of must-see destinations.
Additionally, this city from the Renaissance era is surrounded by magnificent ancient walls that were originally defenses but are now a wonderful sight to see.
Lucca, which is located in Tuscany in north-central Italy, is 20 kilometers (13 miles) from the west coast, one hour from Florence, and thirty minutes from Pisa by car.
1. Visit Lucca Cathedral
The San Martino Cathedral and Duomo di Lucca are further names for the Lucca Cathedral. It is conveniently located on the Piazza San Martino in the city’s old center.
Its stunning architecture, which includes spectacular arches and columns, is well-known across Italy. The cathedral was first built in the 11th century, although modifications were last made to it in the 14th century, during the Renaissance.
You may marvel at four scenes that Nicola Pisano skillfully carved around the main doorway at the building’s entrance. They portray numerous facets of Saint Martin’s life. A bell tower with exposed brick on the bottom and white walls on top is located next to the cathedral.
Given that it is technically only halfway done, this is different from the building’s original design, yet it is still this way today. This bell tower can be climbed for better city views.
2. Stroll along the city walls
The ancient city walls that encircle the old town are among Lucca’s most fascinating and notable features. They were initially built during the Renaissance and are still standing today.
The city walls have connected promenades, so they aren’t only for show; you can wander along them. There are 11 bastions strategically positioned along the old city walls. They are currently excellent places to take in the surroundings, yet they were probably originally employed as defensive positions for the city.
The bastions are connected by a pathway known as the Via delle Mura Urbane. There are trees all along the 2.5-mile-long walkway. If you like, you may even pause and have a picnic among these trees; in all honesty, I think this is an excellent idea.
3. Explore the city’s piazzas (squares)
Without visiting and experiencing Lucca’s different piazzas, no trip would be complete. Given that it was previously a Roman Amphitheater, the Piazza dell Anfiteatro in Lucca’s historic center is probably the most well-known of these.
Even though the Roman Amphitheater is no longer extant, Piazza dell Anfiteatro’s oval shape reveals that it was once a Roman colony, and as a result, all of the buildings in its vicinity are curved.
Piazza Napoleone is a short distance from Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. It’s confusing since the neighborhood also calls the square Piazza Grande.
The historic district of Lucca also includes Piazza Napoleone, which is home to numerous significant structures and sites. The Ducale Palace, also known as Palazzo della Provincia, is the Piazza Napoleone’s most spectacular structure.
4. Puccini Museum
One of the most well-known composers of all time is Giacomo Puccini. Fortunately, he identified Lucca, Italy, as his hometown.
There are numerous memorials to Giacomo Puccini, his works, and his life throughout the little museum. The composer’s surviving furniture, correspondence, musical notes, and even some posters used to promote his operas are among the items on display at the museum.
Let’s say you require more than only examining Puccini’s personal effects. In such scenario, you could even attend a live performance of some of his music. You can hear some of Puccini’s work for yourself at frequent concerts held at a nearby church.
5. Wine tours
Some of the world’s top wines originate from Italy. It also helps that Lucca, Italy, is located in the Tuscany region, which is well-known for its vineyards.
There are many wineries close to Lucca, but Tenuta Adamo Winery is my top pick. You can take a tour of the vineyard and some of the cellars at the business, which is located in the gently sloping hills that surround the city. You can sample four different wines and olive oils while on the trip, but you’ll also get to have taralli and breadsticks. Your tour guide will also address any queries you may have.
6. Take a cooking class
The country of Italy is renowned for having some of the best culinary offerings in the world, and Lucca is no exception. much while eating this delicious meal is wonderful, learning how to create it is much better.
You can do just this if you choose to travel to Lucca. Around Lucca, you may book a variety of small or even private cooking workshops, many of which are held at the residences of regional chefs.
It is advised to avoid choosing a private cooking lesson if you don’t have a lot of money to invest because it can end up costing you a lot.
7. Basilica of San Frediano
One of the many churches in Lucca is the Basilica of San Frediano. But this church is one of the most impressive since it has a lovely mosaic that was added in the fourteenth century.
Despite being hundreds of years old, the mosaic’s level of detail still amazes people since it shows the Ascension of Christ. If you’re religious, you might want to think about going to Mass or another church service here.
Since it contains San Frediano’s relics, exploring the crypt is another fantastic activity. The Basilica of San Frediano should be utilized if you are in Lucca.
8. Visit Torre delle Ore
One of the tallest structures in Lucca is the clock tower, Torre delle Ore. The building was also utilized as a defensive fortification, but from the 14th century, it has been a clock tower.
One of Lucca’s best views is waiting for you at the top once you up the 200 stairs. Just try to avoid being at the top when the bell rings because it is really loud and hard on the hearing.
9. Eat Pizza & Gelato
Visit Pizzeria da Felice to sample pizza, cecina (traditional Italian flatbread made from chickpea flour), and necci with ricotta cheese. Visit Gelateria Veneta or I Gelati de Piero to indulge in Italian ice cream.
10. Go shopping
During your trip to Lucca, you might want to buy a few mementos. If so, you’ll have a lot of options because there are many neighborhood markets and shops.
Street markets are held weekly or biweekly in many Italian towns, and Lucca is no exception. Make sure you’re nearby on Wednesdays and Saturdays because that’s when street markets typically take place.
The Farmer’s Market is one of the best markets in the city. Wines, leather goods, pottery items, fresh fruit and vegetables, and some delectable meals are frequently sold at markets.