The entire historical center of Lucca is in fact enclosed by the circular walls, a magnificent artifact, almost 5 km long that took more than 100 years to be built. The current one is the 4th circle of the walls and embraces 3 previous circles, the first one dating back to Roman times. The construction was decreed in 1504, when the Republic of Lucca was fearing the neighboring Medicis expansionist policy. The work, begun in 1545 and completed around 1650, was carried out by the most important military architects of that era.
The walls, which in some sections follow the course of the earlier medieval ones, are formed of eleven ramparts joined by curtains for a total length of over four kilometers. On each rampart is a little building for the guards, called casermetta (still existing today).
Nowadays the walls of Lucca are the public park for all the locals, who love running, cycling, walking with their dog or just sitting on a bench enjoying their time.
Standing at 12 meters high and 25 meters wide, the walls offer a beautiful vantage point for looking at Lucca from across the rooftops and beyond the walls to the majestic hills surrounding the plains of Lucca. Anyone visiting Lucca should not miss a walk or a ride on the walls.
The Historic Center
Entering the city center by the great archways of the walls still feels like entering a castle or going back into time
Lucca is for walking. The old town is mostly pedestrian or restricted to residents only. The longest diameter between the old walls is barely a mile and it is easy to see a great deal in a day merely by meandering along the gray flagstone streets, while the buildings on either side merge from medieval to Romanesque to Renaissance to neoclassical and back again. Some love just wandering around discovering secret corners, getting lost, having a drink sitting outdoors in a café.
We suggest discovering Lucca just walking around and enjoying this open-skies museum.
The top 5 spots that you can’t miss are:
The Cathedral of San Martino
San Michele in Foro
Basilica di San Frediano
The Guinigi Tower
But if you want to know more about what to see in Lucca city center you can also read our guide on the Top 10 Places To Visit in Lucca City Center.
You will soon raelize that Lucca also offers superb dining, quality shopping and antique markets. We suggest going window shopping in Via Fillungo, and while there you must stop in a gelateria or in pasticceria, and enjoy something sweet. You are in Italy after all!
View our guide to eating out in Lucca, and the top restaurants we recommend that you have to try on your next visit.
A crown of hills covered by vineyards and olive groves surrounds and protects the plain of Lucca. Here is where the extra virgin olive oil, considered by many as the best in the world, is produced and exported worldwide. You can find a variety of landscapes in the surroundings, going from mountains in the charming Garfagnana, to the best beaches that Lucca has to offer less than half an hour away, in Versilia.
Moreover, the beautiful city of Pisa and Florence are very close, and easy to reach, even by train.
As Forbes stated, writing about Lucca: “A wealthy and colorful town that draws a more discerning tourist than Florence or Pisa, it is sufficiently off the beaten track to have kept its civility and reserve. Tour buses are not the norm here: It is blissfully cut off by its perfectly preserved Renaissance walls. Lucca is a city of merchants who know how to woo the visitor and the shopper, but the pace of life varies between slow and slower.”
Lucca is also very well known for its cultural and musical festival. Two of the more important are the Lucca Summer Festival and Lucca Comics and Games.
Lucca Summer festival takes place - as you might have guessed - during the summer, mainly in July. It is a music festival and lots of international artis have played here. Just to name a few: Rolling Stone, Elton John, John Legend, Eric Clapton, Ennio Morricone and Justin Bieber.
Lucca Comics and Games is the biggest European event dedicated to comics, cosplay and gaming. It takes place at the end of October, and it attracts thousands of people every year.
If you want to rent a Villa and discover the beauty that Lucca can offer, please view our range of handpicked villas to rent in Lucca. With over 35 Years of experience, our team of experts based in Tuscany are ready to help organize your next perfect holiday.
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