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
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’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 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
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.
Until next time