Lucca may be known as the city of 100 churches, but there’s more to do than just see the cathedrals (although, trust us, you’ll want to see them, too). Here are a few things you must see, do, and eat during your time in this Italian city.
The Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is a symbol of local life in Lucca. It has a unique oval shape, dotted with coloured medieval houses, small arts and crafts shops, and traditional trattorias perfect for enjoying local food and drinks. As well, the square hosts many markets, including a great flower fair in April. If you want to skip the crowds, head to the square early in the morning (around 7 or 8am) before the shops and restaurants have opened. Explore the back side of the amphitheatre and you’ll find ancient Roman stones. Last (but certainly not least!), enjoy a hot cappuccino with Buccellato cake and you will feel like a true local!
Located in the city centre, the Guinigi Tower was constructed in the 14th century and offers the most beautiful views of the city (there are also trees growing from its peak!). It’s one of the few towers in Lucca that people can still climb and visit, so take advantage and trek up the 25 flights of stairs. Trust us, the view is amazing.
San Michele in Foro square was built over the ancient Roman forum, and up until the 1300s was the the seat of the Consiglio Maggiore. Today, it’s well worth a visit to see its majestic shape and rich artwork, and to learn about the site’s long history. As well, beautiful palaces dating back to the middle ages encircle the Piazza Foro, making you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Head to a local bar for a refreshing Prosecco and a delicious focaccia with finocchiona salami and pecorino cheese, in the shadow of the Palazzo Pretorio.
The unique Renaissance walls surrounding the city are intact and entirely walk-able. The walls were once a defensive feature, but today are a city park. Run, bike, rollerblade, or just walk around and soak up the atmosphere. You may also discover an exhibition of contemporary art or a classical music concert happening. Feeling romantic? Come here for a sunset walk (don’t forget to bring a bottle of local Montecarlo wine!).
San Martino Cathedral is a splendid example of the Romanesque architecture in Lucca. Its construction dates back to 1060, and on the pillar to the right, you can see the famous maze that symbolises a figurative pilgrimage to complete before entering the church. Here you’ll also find the tomb of and monument to Ilaria del Carretto, carved by Jacopo della Quercia — it’s a masterpiece that dates back to the 15th century.
Dreaming of life in Lucca? Let us show you around on a Lucca city tour!