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A day in Lucca

  • Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Last updated: 27 March, 2024

Lucca is a compact gem of a town, a perfect ensemble of Medieval and Renaissance buildings enclosed by a well-preserved set of 16th-century walls. Aside from its handsome piazzas and palazzi and exquisite churches, it boasts some lovely old shops, excellent restaurants and atmospheric cafés, all lining a network of pretty cobbled streets. Its overall attraction lies in the fact that it never feels overwhelmed by tourists, thus offering an authentic sense of local life.

A coffee in oval Piazza del Anfiteatro (built on the site of the Roman amphitheatre) is a good place to start a tour of the town. There are some wonderful old shops with their original storefronts in and around nearby Via Fillungo.

Historic, atmospheric Caffè di Simo (Via Fillungo 58) is another good place for a cappuccino and a pastry while the Buca di Sant’Antonio restaurant (open since 1782, Via della Cervia 3) serves up Lucchese specialities with a modern twist.

Who to go with: tour operators

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Gelateria De’ Coltelli

  • Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Gelateria De’ Coltelli

Experience

Seasonal fruit, local ingredients and organic milk, cream and eggs are the mainstays of this artisanal ice cream. Flavours vary with the seasons, but look out for the sinful De Bondt chocolate and candied orange peel and the pistachio ice creams, and the refreshing Sicilian-style granitas (almond, maybe) in summer.

Good for age: 4+

Giacomo Puccini Museum

  • Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Giacomo Puccini Museum

Experience

Opera buffs shouldn’t miss the small museum dedicated to Giacomo Puccini, Lucca’s most famous son. He’s regarded as the greatest and most successful proponent of Italian opera after Verdi.

Adult price: £2

Good for age: 18+

St Martin’s Cathedral

  • Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

St Martin’s Cathedral

Experience

The most important church in Lucca. Begun in the 11th-century, it has a magnificently carved marble façade and houses the tomb of Ilaria Carretto, a beautiful work in marble by Jacopo della Quercia.

Good for age: 18+

Walk or cycle Lucca’s city walls

  • Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Walk or cycle Lucca’s city walls

Experience

Don’t miss a stroll or bike ride around the 2.5 miles of walls; the locals love their ramparts and cycle, walk, jog and picnic here regularly (in summer, go early or late in the day to avoid the heat). You can hire bikes from Cicli Bizzari in Piazza Santa Maria, from where there is access to the ramparts.

Good for age: 4+

Duration: 1 hour

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Lucca lies between Florence and Pisa and is easily accessible from the A11 autostrada if you are driving. Street parking in the old town is only for residents; visitors must pay for parking in the designated areas around the ramparts.

There are both trains and buses from Florence (around 45 minutes) and Pisa (around 30 minutes). The train station lies just outside the walls to the south of the town, a ten-minute walk from eh Duomo.

There are tourist information offices in Piazza Curtatone and Piazzale Verdi which have walking maps and various guides to the town and its attractions. They can also supply information about where to hire a bike, and have information about the famous Lucchese Villas that are dotted around the nearby countryside.

When to do it

As always, it’s best to avoid visiting in high, hot summer (July and August); May to June and September to October are perfect months. If you want to enjoy Lucca at its best, stay overnight; most tourists just come for the day. And in winter, the town is at its most authentic.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • Florence

Discover the elegant cities of Pisa and Lucca, on a Tuscany day trip from Florence! With an expert tour leader, explore the Pisa square of Piazza dei Miracoli to see Pisa Baptistry and the legendary Leaning Tower of Pisa, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit Pisa Duomo to learn about its history, and then spend the afternoon in nearby Lucca, one of Tuscany’s lesser-known gems. Enjoy a walking tour, seeing Piazza dell 'Anfiteatro, Lucca Cathedral and more, and finish with a slice of 'buccellato,' Lucca’s signature cake.

Price €52

Min age 0

Rating 4 / 5 [216 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Lucca

Enjoy a 3-hour hands-on cooking class in Lucca and learn 2 pasta recipes and tiramisu from scratch while connecting with a real Italian family in his local home. Add a market tour before the class for an immersive culinary experience. Share your passion for the Italian cuisine as you make new friends with this small-group class. • 3-hour hands-on pasta and tiramisu class in Lucca • Lunch or dinner with wines, water and espresso included • Learn Italy’s cooking secrets and amaze your loved ones back home

Price €159

Min age 0

Rating 4.86 / 5 [123 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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