Exploring Lucca

Duomo di Lucca, Lucca, Italy

Nestled in the Tuscany region on the Serchio River the city of Lucca sits quietly oozing an Italian charm that is rich in history and is brimming with beautiful sights to see. Surrounded by Renaissance walls that encapsulate the city centre Lucca is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Beautiful trees line the historic walls and the views from higher up, reaching right across the surrounding countryside to the dramatic mountains in the distance.

Lucca’s city walls are the perfect place to start when it comes to immersing yourself in the city. Constructed as a defensive barrier during the Renaissance the walls are an outstanding example of the architectural wonders of this period and the structure and details are preserved beautifully. Whether you take to the walls by foot or hire a bike, or even a tandem, travelling around the walls fully will give you the best views of the city as a whole. Contrasts in architectural structures, details and colours and luscious vegetation that make Lucca so unique can all be appreciated from the impressive walls.

Well known for being the birthplace of the master composer that is Casa di Puccini you will find the composer’s house has been carefully and lovingly restored. Including furniture, art and beautiful collections of manuscripts and costumes from world-famous performances, this is a lovely place to spend some time capturing the essence of this famous composer. Set outside the house is a grand statue of the composer himself and marks the location of his home perfectly.

The perfect place to take a moment is the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, which was once a Roman Amphitheatre. Though the many structural details are no longer, the elliptical shape of the exterior walls are still evident and knowing what once stood is a lovely thought to share while having a coffee from the many cafes and stalls that now fill the space.

Dominating the skyline of Lucca is the Torre Guinigi a stunning example of Romanesque-Gothic architecture that stands at 45 metres tall. If you are feeling a little energetic you can climb the 232 steps to the top where Holm-Oak trees grow on the tower top and the views that open up of Lucca and the surrounding mountains are breathtaking.

Within the city walls of Lucca, there are many beautiful architectural masterpieces from the Basilica di San Michele in Foro, with its unique architectural details of arches and decorative carvings including wild animals which show the precision and skills taken to produce such an impressive venue. To the Basilica of San Frediano, with its stunning exterior monumental mosaic in royal blue and gold accents that shine in sun and the interior which is home to Romanesque capitals reused from the Roman Amphitheatre.

The Duomo di San Martino, also known as Lucca Cathedral, is dedicated St Martin of Tours and proudly stands as an impressive example of Renaissance architecture. Elaborate yet delicate in design, the Duomo is home to historical art pieces and the shrine of the sacred face of Lucca. The towering bell tower that sits next to the cathedral is only half-finished.

Head to the tranquil gardens of the Orto Botanico Comunale di Lucca for the perfect place to reflect on your travels and admire the broad range of trees, plants and flowers that occupy the beautifully manicured spaces. With relaxing water features, ponds and greenhouses to explore this is the perfect place to spend a while relaxing in the sun.

Remember that some places require entry tickets or fees so look up places of interest before you leave to be sure you don’t miss anything and where possible buy passes in advance to make your experience even more relaxing.

Lucca is a very unique city with so much on offer. Whether you choose to tick off as many sights as possible or keep things simple, sometimes it’s the small things that linger in your mind the most like buying a pizza, finding a quiet sunny spot on the walls green spaces and eating it while overlooking the beauty that is Lucca.

Lucca is a city on the Serchio river in Italy’s Tuscany region. It’s known for the well-preserved Renaissance walls encircling its historic city centre and its cobblestone streets. Broad, tree-lined pathways along the tops of these massive 16th and 17th-century ramparts are popular for strolling and cycling. Casa di Puccini, where the great opera composer was born, is now a house museum.