Last year I took a road trip through Tuscany that brought me to some of the most beautiful towns and villages of this charming Italian region. And among popular spots and top tourist attractions, I fell in love with Lucca.

Lucca is a charming town in northern Tuscany still quite untouched by mass tourism. Despite its proximity to Pisa and other major Tuscan sites, it’s still a bit under the radar and seduces visitors with its elegant piazzas and peaceful atmosphere.

Here are some reasons why you should absolutely include Lucca in your next trip to Tuscany.

A corner of authentic Tuscany

Lucca

Tuscany is one of Italy’s (and Europe’s) top travel destinations. For this reason, sometimes it is hard to visit it without stumbling into tacky tourist traps or the usual hordes of tourists coming off from a bus. Well, Lucca is a breath of fresh air under this point of view. You still get to see amazing cathedrals and beautiful Renaissance art, but without the hustle and bustle of the more famous tourist sites.

One of the best preserved (and mostly pedestrianized) historic centers

Lucca

Lucca’s historic centre is surrounded by thick walls built in the XVI century and maintained practically intact up to now. Originally built to protect the town, today these walls are one Lucca’s key attractions. They’ve been converted into a stunning tree-lined, panoramic walkway completely pedestrianized, just like most of the town center, where beautiful historic buildings are incredibly well preserved.

The town of 100 churches

Lucca_Church of San Michele in Forio

Lucca is home to an impressive number of religious buildings featuring some great examples of architectural Italian styles. Before you ask, no, I didn’t see all of them, but surely there are some must-see, including the Church of San Michele, the San Frediano Basilica and San Michele in Foro.

Its pretty streets and alleys will make you forget Florence 

With its colorful buildings, pretty cafés and elegant piazzas, Lucca is a photographer’s paradise and has nothing to envy to the more glamorous Florence and Siena. Take your time to venture down its side streets and back alleys to admire the architecture and the many local shops. Everywhere you look you’ll always find something stunning to take a picture of!

Cute eateries and a unique gastronomy

Lucca’s gastronomy is quite unique in the region, with a variety of delicious specialties including tordelli, meat-stuffed pasta served with sauce and parmesan, necci, crepes made of chestnut flour and filled with ricotta, and buccellato, a donut cake filled with raisins. You can taste all this amazing food at one of the many nice restaurants and pretty trattorias sprinkled throughout the historic center.

A town of music

Lucca_Puccini

Music plays an important role in Lucca. Opera composer Giacomo Puccini was born here and every year the maestro is celebrated with a special festival in July and August (alternatively, concerts take place most evenings in the Church of San Giovanni). There is also a fantastic Summer Music Festival taking place throughout July, with a series of open-air concerts by internationally renowned artists.

**FREE GUIDE **

Download the guide with things to see in Lucca in one day, including places to eat and where to stay, should you wish to spend the night there

You may want to read also my Tuscany itinerary for a 10-day road trip.

34 replies
  1. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    So nice to read about another Italian city in Tuscany other than Florence. Lucca looks really pretty, and my mouth is watering after thinking about the delicious food there. Also interesting to know it’s the birthplace of Puccini, I never knew that before!

    Reply
  2. Medha Verma
    Medha Verma says:

    I am not surprised that it is untouched by mass tourism because I also haven’t heard of Lucca, despite having been to Tuscany (especially Pisa, since you say it’s close to Pisa). It looks like a pretty cool Italian town, so cool that it has over 100 churches! The streets and alleys look quite nice as well!

    Reply
  3. Jen Morrow
    Jen Morrow says:

    I love learning about (and exploring) the towns less traveled. The architecture is lovely and I cannot imagine visiting all of those churches! The food sounds wonderful, especially crepes made of chestnut flour, yummy.

    Reply
  4. Rachelle
    Rachelle says:

    I just love those quaint little towns that aren’t touched by a lot of tourism. I love walking down little alley ways that make you forget which century you’re in. Lucca seems to tick all the boxes for me. And even though it would be fun to say that you’ve visited all 100 of the churches, I’m sure something like church-fatigue would kick in!

    Reply
  5. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    Love the photos – I would go wild taking pictures of the architecture and streets. Finding locations with fewer people is my kind of travel so thank you!

    Reply
  6. Rob Taylor
    Rob Taylor says:

    I’ve heard that Lucca will, as you put it, make you forget Florence. I’m totally intrigued and may have to visit in May when we’re tramping around Europe. It sounds and looks so much more peaceful and gorgeous.

    Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      That’s great Rob! It’s nice to see the major tourist sites, of course, but venturing to off-the-beaten path places often offers a more relaxed and authentic experience, which I love!
      Hope you have a great time in Italy! 🙂

      Reply
  7. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I have seen Italy come up more and more on our radar. It must be amazing walking between all that architecture and visiting the old churches. Would love to visit Lucca!

    Reply
  8. Denny George
    Denny George says:

    I visited Tuscany a few years back, and skipped Lucca in favor of spending more time in Sienna and Florence. The photographs look great. They do, however make me regretful, reminding me of what I missed.

    Reply
  9. Kate
    Kate says:

    Lucca is so beautiful! It’s one of our favorite towns in Tuscany, as well–we love how walkable it is, and its distinct oval town “square”. I can’t quite say its streets make me forget the streets of Florence… but they’re definitely a contender. 😉 We’re actually planning a trip back to Tuscany this summer, and we can’t wait to see Lucca again!

    Reply
  10. Bhusha
    Bhusha says:

    The land of 100 churches? That definitely needs more than an extended weekend to explore.
    Whole of Italy is just so gorgeous, right? If only I could move to Italy and explore all of these places every weekend….

    Reply
  11. Aditi
    Aditi says:

    Lucca should be an interesting place to visit. I could walk on the streets all day trying out food and stop by churches. Can’t wait to have an authentic Tuscan experience. Cheers!!

    Reply
  12. Shaily
    Shaily says:

    Lucca sounds like an interesting place to visit. I love the architecture of the buildings and the old feel of its streets and alleys. A town of hundred churches – really? That’s quite impressive! I would love to try those authentic local eateries especially the donut cake filled with raisins. Lucca is definitely a place worth adding to the bucket list.

    Reply
  13. Stella Jane
    Stella Jane says:

    Lucca definitely seems like a great place to visit. Of course I am dying to go to Tuscany, but Florence is always the first place I think of. It would be great to get somewhere a little more about the beaten track. The 100 churches sound interesting too.

    Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      I know Stella and of course Florence is a must-see, but it’s also nice to explore the surrounding area to get a better feel for the country. And I think Lucca is unmissable under this point of view 🙂

      Reply
  14. Chloe
    Chloe says:

    Tuscany is high on my bucketlist, but I hadn’t really spent much time looking at Lucca! Will definitely bookmark it and think about it when we start planning our trip! It looks and sounds amazing!

    Reply
  15. Soumya Nambiar
    Soumya Nambiar says:

    I didn’t know about this charming gem when I went to Italy. 100 churches seem to be a lot and hope you did manage to see at least some in Lucca. It is also nice that it is a well-preserved town. Will definitely keep this place in mind.

    Reply
  16. Manjulika Pramod
    Manjulika Pramod says:

    Lucca is a charming town. I knew about Tuscany but not this. I am fond of churches and this one has 100 of them. Wow.
    Pretty streets and alleys are my favorite. And what better than having amazing food. I am glad to learn about this place.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *