Lucca - the secret pearl of Tuscany


The historic city of Lucca, the secret pearl of Tuscany, with its numerous sights and the lively center is one of the absolute highlights in the popular Italian region. 

Lucca is located in northwest Tuscany, only about 20 kilometers from Pisa and the Tuscan coast and is one of the most popular destinations in the region. The picturesque, completely original preserved old town is located in the middle of the historic wall ring and can be easily visited on a tour.

The roofs of Lucca
The roofs of Lucca

The city with its numerous sights and the well-preserved cityscape is often referred to as the secret pearl of Tuscany alongside the other major tourist centers, as it is not completely overcrowded and you can still discover it individually and in peace in many places.

Sightseeing in Lucca

The tour through the old town begins at one of the numerous city gates in the preserved fortress ring. The wide city wall is green and accessible to pedestrians; on a tour, visitors have a view over the roofs of the city and the surrounding region.

Stroll through the small streets of the old town

The old town with its tiled houses consists of many small alleys, large squares and several shopping streets with individual shops and restaurants.

Alleys of Lucca
The small streets of Lucca

San Martino Cathedral

Lucca Cathedral of St. Martin
Lucca Cathedral from San Martino

The most important sights include the Cathedral of San Martino, with its typical Tuscan white outer walls made of marble and the outstanding campanile. The magnificent Gothic building is surrounded by a square with venerable town houses, medieval residential towers and other church buildings.

Piazza dell'antifeatro

Piazza dell Amfiteatro
Piazza dell Amfiteatro

The second main square of the city is the Piazza dell'antifeatro, in the area of ​​the ancient amphitheater. This square is surrounded by historic houses and narrow, branching streets. In the area of ​​the city wall is also the old citadel of the city.

The city walls of Lucca

Lucca with the city wall
Lucca with its city wall

Lucca is one of the few cities in Europe whose city walls have been completely preserved. You get through tunnels and gates through the thick masonry, on which a beautiful promenade is planted.

The city walls of Lucca are world-famous. If you approach Pisa by plane, it offers an impressive view from above. When you finally stand in front of it, you are no less impressed by the wide, curved masonry behind wide meadows, because traffic is generously routed around the city center. A special feature of the city wall is that trees grow on it in the form of avenues, forming a closed green belt around the city.

You can cycle on the wall or even have a picnic on wooden benches and chairs. The center is almost car-free, so you can stroll around the old town. The city from the Middle Ages has an imposing cathedral with San Martino with a two-tone bell tower and paintings by great masters. San Michele in Foro and San Frediano are the other churches that shape Lucca's silhouette.

Also interesting is the Guinigi Tower, overgrown with holm oaks, from which you have a great view of the city and the Apuan Alps. If you want to take a tour of the city wall, you should perhaps see the Palazzo Pfanner with its beautiful garden.

Roman traces and Puccini

The market square, where the church of San Michele in Foro is located, dates back to the Romans. The church with its angel on the facade is more recent. The Piazza del Anfiteatro, whose colored houses were built on the remains of a Roman amphitheater in exactly the same oval shape as the tiers were once arranged, looks even more Roman.

San Micheal
Church of San Michele in the market square of Lucca

If you turn off the main shopping street Via Filungo, you come through a gate into the inhabited arena with its cozy shops. A stroll through the old town with its many cafés is definitely worth it, and you will probably even meet Giacomo Puccini as a statue. The great composer was born in Lucca and later lived nearby in a small villa in Torre del Lago.

Arrival in Lucca

Lucca is conveniently located in the Arno plain, close to Pisa and on the A 11 autostrada to Genoa and with a favorable landscape Florence. From Lucca there are also excursions into the surrounding area, such as the mountains to the north with old villages, forests, olive groves and vineyards, as well as the nearby coast with its long sandy beaches and the famous seaside resort Viareggio.

Last updated: 06.02.2024

Image courtesy of stasal

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