Lucca, Italy is a wonderful city in the region of Tuscany with a long and ancient history. It dates back to the Etruscan period and later became a Roman settlement. Remains from its distant past are still very much evident to this day. Its rich…
Lucca, Italy is a wonderful city in the region of Tuscany with a long and ancient history. It dates back to the Etruscan period and later became a Roman settlement. Remains from its distant past are still very much evident to this day. Its rich historical heritage draws tourist to the area, simply to bask in the old-world charm, admire the splendid architecture and take pleasure in the legacy of the musical greats that once captivated the country.
Lucca is easily reachable by train from the popular tourist destinations of Pisa and Florence. Pisa International Airport is the nearest and makes for the most convenient jump off point. You can take a train from Pisa and get to Lucca in less than half an hour. A bus ride takes longer but the scenic route that goes with it makes it a desirable alternative.
Most of Lucca’s attractions are concentrated within the Old Town’s ancient walls. This antiquated fortification is now transformed into a verdant promenade with towering trees flanking its sides. You can go for a walk but you can always rent a bike if you like and enjoy the ride.
The best place to view a breathtaking panorama of the city is on top of the Guinigi Tower. The tower is an attraction in itself, not only for its architectural grandeur and historical relevance but also for the several oak trees that are thriving on its crest.
If you want to take a glimpse at Lucca’s Roman past, proceed to Piazza S. Michele which sits on an ancient forum. In fact, the 11th century marble church here is still called S. Michele in Foro or St. Michael in the Forum. The square is surrounded by medieval structures and charming cafes, making it a delightful place to simply chill out and soak up the lovely atmosphere.
Next up is Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, this spherical square was once home to a Roman amphitheater in the 1st century, but only an arch is what remains of the massive structure today. The arch is located on the left entrance of the piazza. The square becomes even more alive during summer, when open-air concerts are performed on site.
The city is home to several historic churches. Visit some of them and get inspired by their impressive architecture and valuable collection of art works. San Martino Cathedral, San Giovanni Church, and Church of San Cristoforo are just some of the churches worth visiting in the area.
For a bit of shopping, head to Via Fillungo where you will find a procession of shops and stalls along the way. Whether you are on the lookout for a good bottle of wine, a piece of furniture or a sample of Italian couture, you will not be disappointed when you get there.
Finally, Lucca is home town of some of the country’s greatest composers such as Puccini, Boccherini and Geminiani, among others. Puccini is the most popular of them all, not only in Italy but also internationally, thanks to his masterpieces – La Boheme and Madame Butterly. If you are a fan and cannot get enough of opera performances, then you are in for a treat when you visit during the annual Puccini Opera Festival celebrated between July to August in the vicinity of Torre del Lago. The nearby Puccini House Museum is also worth checking out.
The city is also home to another musical extravaganza you cannot afford to miss – the Lucca Summer Festival – which features popular performers from the international music scene. So, do your research and make sure you get there when the party is on.