In case, while reading my article, you are traveling in Italy, add Lucca in your to-do list and believe me, you will be amazed by it. Or better, if you are staying in Pisa, take the train to a perfect romantic getaway in this medieval city located on the west coast of Italy in Tuscany. Only a few trains stop and you are there. You will be surprised by a mixture of modern fashion shops and ancient churches and towers, culture, art, history and much more hidden beauties in its labyrinth of narrow streets and piazzas. Even Lucca was greatly modernized through time it stayed true to its Renaissance influence.
Having the opportunity to visit this city was one of the best experiences ever and here are the tips could give you when visiting it.
Bike on top of the walls
Arriving in Lucca you may not be that impressed, but keep walking towards the inside of the city. Just like a hidden pearl in the shell, the old town of Lucca is surrounded by magnificent walls long 4 km. Initially built for military and defensive purposes, today it is one of the main attractions in Lucca. On top of the walls, there are streets from which you can enjoy an amazing view of the old city and at the same time feeling the breeze from all the trees planted. You can easily rent a bike and ride through this medieval panorama or just walk the promenade and revive, as Italians would say, the Passeggiata Delle Mura Urbane.
During my stay in Lucca, while riding a bike on top of the walls we saw people recreating a scene from the time the walls were used to defend the town. They were filling the cannons with cannonballs and firing ( of course not for real).
Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, charming public square
Walking inside the walls, through lovely, iconic streets, you will cross many public squares. All of them vibrant and inviting, colorful and attractive especially Piazza dell'Anfiteatro. A ring of many beautiful buildings surrounds the square making it take the elliptical shape of the Roman Amphitheater of the second century. Right at the center of the square, there is a cross carved on a tile, pointing the four gateways of the square. There are many cafes and restaurants where you can sit and enjoy the view.
Piazza Napoleone, Piazza San Michelle, and Piazza Verdi are some of the many other public squares that will take your breath away and let you appreciate all that beauty.
Go to as many basilicas as possible
There are nearly 100 churches in the old town of Lucca, so I can't advise much but to visit as many as possible. We visited more than enough to witness the knowledge, the passion and the experience of the people building it. The art and cultural heritage kept in the basilicas have been for centuries nurtured and admired.
Right on the Piazza San Frediano, you will find the Romanesque church Basilica San Frediano. San Michelle in Foro is another wonderful Catholic church that was built on top of an ancient Roman forum. There is also the Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to San Martino.
Lucca Summer Festival
If you are wondering which time of the year is the best for you to visit Lucca there is no precise answer. If you are an Autumn person you will definitely love walking or riding a bike on top of the walls when nature around has all possible colors and leaves are falling everywhere. But during summer, there is one of the most famous festivals in Italy going on, right in Lucca, Lucca Summer Festival. There are many famous singers performing back through the years like Eric Clapton, Tracy Chapman, and my favorite Tom Jones. I was there to watch his performance, on the same day as my birthday. What a gift!