If you are looking for little gems to visit in Tuscany, add Lucca to your must-visit list, a town often skipped in favour of other more internationally known destinations. Our quick guide will explain why.

Lucca is a charming medieval city, known for its beautiful historic center, well-preserved walls, and its rich cultural heritage. There is so much to see and do in Lucca and to help you make the most of your trip, here are our top five things to do, see and taste.

1. Walk or bike the city walls
Lucca is famous for its well-preserved city walls. These walls date back to the Renaissance era and were built to protect the city from invaders. Today, the walls have been turned into a pedestrian and bike path that offers stunning views of the city and its surroundings. The path is about 4 Km long and takes about an hour to walk or 30 minutes to bike. Along the way, you will pass by several historic buildings and churches, as well as beautiful gardens and parks.

2. Visit the Cathedral of San Martino
The Cathedral of San Martino is one of the most important religious sites in Lucca. It is located in the heart of the city and dates back to the 11th century. The cathedral is known for its stunning façade and beautiful interior, which is filled with works of art from the Renaissance era. One of the highlights of the cathedral is the Volto Santo, a crucifix in walnut that is believed to have been carved by Nicodemus, one of the disciples of Jesus.

3. Explore Piazza dell’Anfiteatro
Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is one of the most unique and charming squares in Lucca. It was built on the site of an ancient Roman amphitheater and has retained its oval shape. Today, the square is a bustling hub of restaurants, cafes, and shops, and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. The architecture of the surrounding buildings is stunning, and the atmosphere is lively and vibrant.

4. Take a stroll through the Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens of Lucca are a hidden gem that is often overlooked by tourists. They are located just outside the city walls and are a beautiful oasis of peace and tranquility. The gardens were established in the early 19th century and cover an area of about 2.5 hectares. They are home to over 1,500 species of plants, including several rare and endangered species. The gardens are also home to several historic buildings and fountains, making them a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll.

5. Visit the Guinigi Tower
The Guinigi Tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in Lucca. It is a 14th-century tower that is known for its rooftop garden, which is filled with oak trees. The tower was built by the Guinigi family, who were one of the most prominent families in Lucca during the Middle Ages. Today, visitors can climb the tower’s 232 steps to reach the rooftop garden, which offers stunning views of the city and its surroundings.

Lucca Piazza dell'Anfiteatro.

Lucca Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. Photo by Andreas Jäckel


How far is Lucca from the coast?
Lucca is located in the inland area of Tuscany, and is not directly on the coast. The closest coastal city to Lucca is Viareggio, which is approximately 20 Km (12.5 miles) away and can be easily reached by train or car. Other popular coastal destinations in the area, such as Forte dei Marmi (36Km) and Pisa (19Km), are also within easy reach from Lucca.

Where is the nearest airport to Lucca?
The nearest airport to Lucca is the Galileo Galilei International Airport (PSA), located in Pisa, which is approximately 20 Km (12.5 miles) away. The airport serves several airlines that offer domestic and international flights to and from major cities in Europe and beyond. From the airport, travelers can easily reach Lucca by train, bus, or car, with travel times ranging from 20 minutes to an hour depending on the mode of transportation.

What is a popular dish you must order in Lucca?
Tuscany is, of course, famous for its rich culinary traditions. There are many delicious dishes that you can try while in Lucca, but one of the most popular is “pappa al pomodoro“. It is a hearty soup made with bread, ripe tomatoes, garlic, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. The bread is soaked in the tomato sauce until it becomes soft and flavorful, creating a delicious and comforting dish that is perfect for cooler days. Another popular dish in Lucca is “tordelli lucchesi”, which are handmade pasta pockets filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables, typically served with a meat-based sauce. Both dishes can be found in many restaurants throughout Lucca and are definitely worth trying.

Who was a famous person from Lucca?
Lucca has been home to many notable figures throughout history, including artists, musicians, writers, and political leaders. One of the most famous people associated with Lucca is Giacomo Puccini, the renowned composer of operas such as “La Bohème,” “Tosca,” and “Madame Butterfly.” Puccini was born in Lucca in 1858 and spent much of his childhood in the city. His family had a long tradition of music-making, and Puccini went on to become one of the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, visitors to Lucca can visit the Puccini Museum, which is dedicated to the composer and houses many of his personal belongings and musical instruments.

lucca cathedral di san martino

Lucca Cattedrale di San Martino

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