The astonishingly beautiful region of Tuscany has it all: art cities and ancient hill towns, high mountains and long sandy beaches, alongside luxurious hotels and some of Italy’s best food and wine.
Recommended place to stay:
Grand Universe Lucca
Lucca, Tuscany, Italy|www.granduniverselucca.com|
Official star rating:
This new 4-star hotel enjoys a super-central location just inside Lucca’s famous walls, overlooking the double squares of Piazza del Giglio and tree-lined Piazza Napoleone (setting for the evening passeggiata. Nothing is more than ten minutes’ walk within Lucca’s historic centre.
Occupying a historic building, not much remains of its storied past (erstwhile guests include Giacomo Puccini, John Ruskin and – later – Chet Baker) thanks to a recent, contemporary re-vamp, but it remains a comfortable and central place to stay in a city where the hotel scene is rather lacking.
There’s a restaurant where you can sample the chef’s contemporary take on local classics, but the real x-factor is the rooftop bar; perfect for a sunset cocktail, overlooking Lucca’s ancient rooftops.
Leafy piazza Napoleone and adjacent Piazza del Giglio are a quiet, pedestrian area lined with Renaissance mansions. In the early evening, it fills with locals enjoying the passeggiata before dinner.
The immediate area is brimming with restaurants, cafés and interesting little shops; it’s a lively area but largely pedestrianised, so traffic noise is limited.
Food & drink
Destination guides including or relevant to this place to stay