1. The city walls of Lucca
Like Pisa’s, Lucca’s city walls are well preserved. You can enjoy wonderful bike rides and walks along the walls. The city walls have wide avenues of trees that offer beautiful views of the city. Built around 1500, the ramparts were completed in 1645. The city walls were among the most advanced and modern city walls at the time. The open spaces between the walls and you won’t have missed them if you’re on them. These open spaces serve a purpose. The enemy couldn’t hide in the bushes during an attack. The park was created in 1921 after the walls were removed.
2. Things to Do: Take a look from one of the towers
This scene sounds like something from Lord of the Rings. However, Lucca also has two towers that are well-known: the Torre Guinigi (or Torre delle Ore). You can climb the Guinigi tower (44 m high) via 230 steps (info & reservations). The beautiful frescoes on the top of the tower make the climb worthwhile. You’ll find lush flower gardens and even a few oaks on the top of the Guinigi landmark. It offers a beautiful view of Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro. The Torre delle Ore, a bell tower located in central Lucca, is Lucca’s biggest tower. The clock mechanism can be seen from the top of the tower if you climb it. There is a legend about a woman who sold her soul and was taken prisoner by the Devil when she attempted to stop the clock from ticking.
3. You must see: Duomo di Lucca
Piazza San Martino is home to Lucca Cathedral, the principal church of the Archdiocese of Lucca Italy. Construction started as early as 1060 but was completed only after the elaborately decorated facades were completed in 1241. The west facade was designed by Da Como. It is remarkable that the cathedral was built after the campanile of 1060. This makes the facade appear smaller and more symmetrical. You will see statues of Nicola Pisano, and Da Como on the main portals. Romanesque arches and statues decorate the facade. The cathedral is home to Ghirlandaio’s Mary with Saints and the marble Tempietto di Civitali. It also contains the tomb of Paolo Guinigi’s young bride.
4. Piazza dell’Anfiteatro
The Piazza del Mercato is known to many tourists as Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. Although there was once an amphitheatre built by the Romans here, most of the stones were used to construct the Lucca churches and palaces. The square has remained unchanged because of its arena-like shape. The square was once home to slums, but you’ll now find shops and restaurants. You can still see the original passages from the four cardinal directions, which allows you to see the gates through which gladiators entered the battlefield.
5. San Michele in Foro
On the square in Lucca where used to be the Roman Forum, the church of San Michele was built. It has been there since 1070, and the façade attracts many tourists each year. It took more than 200 years to finish it perfectly, and that was before the money ran out for the rest. What is the result? The result? Outside the church, the Archangel Gabriel watches over this holy space. There are many must-see sights inside the church. You should pay attention to the many paintings, frescoes, and sculptures. The Madonna and Child terracotta statue by Andrea Della Robbia is the highlight of the church.
6. Puccini Museum & Birthplace
Lucca is also home to the birthplace of Puccini, the famed composer. Today, the museum is dedicated to Giacomo Puccini (15th century), who is well-known for his operas like La Boheme. The museum contains portraits of Puccini, as well as items such the piano where Puccini wrote his last opera and the costumes of his operas. You can also take a photo at the Puccini statue outside the house (website Puccini Museum).
7. Via Fillungo
Via Fillungo, Lucca’s most well-known shopping street, ends in Piazza Dell’Anfiteatro. All kinds of art nouveau hardware shops can be found in the northern part of the medieval shopping street. Halfway up the street, you’ll find the famous church of San Cristoforo dating back to the thirteenth century. This church clearly shows the influence of the Pisan architectural style on Lucca’s architectural style. It has serious white facades with many decorations, arches, and columns. You will also find many cafes and old shops along Via Fillungo, where you can purchase local products. There are many Palazzos along Via Fillungo.
8. Palazzo Pfanner
The Palazzo Pfanner, a palace in Lucca with its palace gardens, is an example of a Palazzo. The palace is now a museum that exhibits art and other artifacts. It dates back to 1667, but is most well-known for its associated gardens, which were created in the eighteenth Century. The gardens feature many statues in baroque of Roman gods or goddesses. The beautiful staircase that runs outside the palace is also well-known. The salon with the most famed frescoes is the one featuring De Santi and Scorsini. A large collection of surgical tools, which Dr. Pietro Pfanner collected (official website) can also be found in the salon.
9. San Frediano Basilica
San Frediano’s church is distinguished by its striking facade featuring a colorful mosaic from the thirteenth century. This facade gives you an idea of what lies inside. The church contains a Romanesque, richly-relieved baptismal font, frescoes from Aspertini and an altarpiece by Della Quercia. The Holy Face relic from Lucca is a dark image depicting a man in a crown and nailed to the cross. According to Lucca’s legend, Nicodemus, a Jewish leader, made the statue.
10. Lucca cycling tour
You can either rent or ride a bicycle to Lucca. You can take a number of bike tours around Lucca and the surrounding areas, both organized and unorganized. It is a great way to explore Lucca and its surroundings. There are over twenty routes you can take. The bike ride across the city walls of Lucca is one of the most popular things to do in Lucca. You can also ride your bike to the beach and to Pisa on your bicycle. Do you want a guided bike tour? Take a look at this bicycle tour.
11. Botanical Garden in Lucca
The botanical gardens of Lucca are also worth a visit. The municipality of Lucca manages the urban park. Marie Louise, Duchess of Palma created the garden in 1820. There are many interesting species of plants and the landscape is divided into two sections. The first part includes the gardens with an orchard and a pond, as well as smaller plants. The second section includes greenhouses, a botanical school and laboratories.
12. Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Mansi
You will find many Palazzos in the Via Fillungo central “shopping street”, such as the Palazzo Mansi. This patrician house dates back to the 16th century. The Pinacoteca Nazionale is a national museum of art that focuses on the work of painters between the 14th and 18th centuries. This Palazzo Mansi hosts the Pinacoteca Nazionale. This was originally the Mansi family’s noble residence. It has a very simple exterior and beautiful interior (website museum).
13. Piazza Napoleone
Piazza Grande, also known as Piazza Napoleone is Lucca’s biggest square. It is the city’s political center. The Piazza Grande, built on the site of Fortezza Augusta (a medieval fortress), was ordered by Napoleon’s sister Elisa Bonaparte. She wanted to honor the family’s name. Despite the fact that Napoleon was supposed to be there, it is not here. A statue of Maria Luisa van Bourbon is located on the Piazza Grande. She was the woman who built the parks within the city walls. The Palazzo Ducale is located on the Piazza Grande. It houses many functions and all sorts of organizations.
14. Museo Nazionale di Villa Guinigi
The Museo Nazionale di Villa Guinigi can be found in the Renaissance villa from the fifteenth century built by Paolo Guinigi. He was the patriarch of Guinigi’s Guinigi family, who ruled Lucca during the fifteenth century. Romanesque statues depicting lions and mosaics can be found in the gardens. You will find statues and architectural finds on the first floor. On the ground floor, you will find paintings by local artists. You will also find furniture, church vestments and choir stalls from Duomo (website museums).
15. Aqueduct is one of the top places to visit
The famous Aqueduct Of Nottolini, a neoclassical structure, can be found just outside Lucca. It was built in the 19th century. It brought water from the hills on the south side to Lucca. The aqueduct is a three-kilometer long stone canal with more than 400 arches. The construction of the autostrada A11 between Florence and Pisa is currently interfering with the aqueduct. Lorenzo Nottolini was the architect who designed the aqueduct and was responsible for the construction of Maria Luisa, Spain, the Duchess de Lucca.
The best hotels in Lucca, Italy
There are many wonderful hotels and bed and breakfasts in and around Lucca. There are many stunning B&Bs that have received great reviews. It may be more affordable to stay outside of the city walls if you are traveling by car. This allows you to park your car easier and often free. You will still find great places and historic buildings in the city’s old center to stay the night. These are our top picks for hotels in Lucca Italy
Palazzo Rocchi is a luxurious guest house located in the centre of Lucca. The large rooms in Palazzo Rocchi are beautifully furnished.
La Boheme: This authentic B&B is located in an elegant building in the heart of the Old City. The B&B has received excellent reviews and is highly regarded for its hospitality. There are also parking facilities.
Al Porto Di Lucca B&B is located just outside the city walls, near the train station, and boasts a beautiful garden. This is a great place to stay if your goal is to explore the region by car.
Villa Lucrezia is a well-known B&B located outside of Lucca’s city walls. This is one of the most beautiful places to stay in Lucca. It offers private parking, bicycles for free and an authentic building.
Palazzo Dipinto is a hotel that has been beautifully renovated and features a modern interior. This luxury hotel is in a great location in the Old Town and has received amazing reviews.
Villa San Donato B&B : The villa is situated in a tranquil garden just 10 minutes from the old town. It is known for its friendly staff, excellent parking facilities, and beautifully decorated rooms.