This Tuscan City Has Maintained It's Peaceful Tranquility
Lucca, an ancient city dating back to the Etruscans, has a long, proud history of outlasting the changing tides. Sure, the medieval years saw the Germans and Lombards come and go, and power changed hands as frequently as any other city state on the peninsula throughout the Renaissance, but before being conquered by Napoleon in 1805, Lucca had remained an independent republic for nearly 500 years. In fact it was second in size only to The Republic of Venice!
Lucca has somehow managed to maintain a sense of identity and consistency throughout the tumultuous centuries. In fact, Lucca is most famous for it's intact city walls. Go to Florence and you’ll see city doors disembodied from the walls that were taken down long ago to make way for expansion. In Lucca the city walls still stand, somehow having survived the modern demands of a growing city.
The ability of Lucca to weather every storm of changing political and cultural winds serves it well in this age of tourism. Of course visitors are nothing new - even as a Medieval city Lucca was an important stop for pilgrims along the Francigena road heading south to Rome. These days Lucca attracts a more discerning tourist than it’s more famous (and crowded) neighbors. If this is you, here are our must-see suggestions for things to do in Lucca:
THINGS TO DO IN LUCCA
Visit Puccini's House
Giacomo Puccini’s native home as been restored in mid-nineteenth century style and is now a museum housing his piano, musical scores, and other memorabilia from the the great composers life. For hours and prices visit the Puccini Museum Website Here
Duomo di San Martino
The beautiful Cathedral of Lucca - inside you’ll find works of art by great artists such as Ghirlandaio, Tintoretto and Fra Bartolomeo.
Walk or Bike the City Walls
The city walls of Lucca are so wide that they have even been used as a track for car races! These days you can enjoy Lucca’s famous walls by taking a walk or bike ride along along the perimeter. Each of the four sides is lined with a different kind of tree
Climb the Guinigi Tower
One of the few towers left standing within the city walls, the Guinigi Tower has an amazing view of Lucca. The best part is that you can enjoy the view from under the shade of one of the trees of the rooftop garden!
Have a Coffee Break at Antico Caffè di Simo
Just steps away from Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, just follow the scent of specialty blend coffee mixed with freshly baked cakes and pastries and you’ll find yourself at Caffè Di Simo. This old favorite haunt of Puccini retains much of it’s original art nouveau charm.
Eat at Lucca's Oldest Restaurant: Buca di Sant'Antonio
Another favorite of Puccini, as well as other literary and artist-types throughout the years, Buca di Sant’ Antonio is Lucca’s oldest restaurant, established in 1782.
While there is plenty to do and see in Lucca, staying here means experiencing Tuscany at a completely different pace than neighboring Florence or Siena. A daytrip to Lucca will feel like a vacation within a vacation. Appreciating Lucca means appreciating stubbornly enduring tranquility. Isn’t that Italy at it’s best?
* If you’re thinking of taking a daytrip to Lucca from Florence and looking for more daytrip ideas, take a look at our list of the Top 5 Daytrips from Florence