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Lucca tuscany Italy Jewel of a Tuscan Town

Lucca The first thing you will see arriving in Lucca are the town walls which are very well preserved and still today surround all the old town. Lucca is the only town in Italy entirely surrounded by walls.
Lucca: A wealthy and colorful town A Jewel of a Tuscan Town

What to do in Lucca Lucca home page

Details about Lucca

Useful services Taxi Bike rental Railways station Car rental Theatre

Ramparts & gates of Lucca

San Frediano & Santa Zita's legend

Towns around Lucca

The coast of Versilia

Massaciuccoli lake &
Museum of Giacomo Puccini

Apuan Alps

Wine road of Lucca

Museums in Lucca area

Famous Lucchese villas

Lucca bike rental tour Biking in Lucca cyclist in Lucca bikes in Lucca Itineraries pedestrianised area pedestrians cyclists

Garfagnana green mountains north of Lucca

The Garfagnana
Bagni di Lucca
Borgo a Mozzano
Castiglione garfagnana
Cave of the wind
Orrido di botri

Hotel residence in Lucca area

Lucca downtown
Lucca Garfagnana mountaign bagni di Lucca Barga
Lucca charming country hills Camaiore Capannori Altopascio Pescaglia Pietrasanta Porcari Camaiore Massarosa Montecarlo Villa Basilica Torre del Lago Puccini

Distance from Lucca
Pisa Airport Km 18
Firenze Airport Km 90
Grosseto Km. 218
Livorno Km. 45
Massa Km. 48
Pisa Km. 20
Pistoia Km. 44
Prato Km. 57
Siena Km. 134

Itineraries: Lucca
Montecatini Terme (Pistoia)

Lucca is a place that you can just walk around and discover and enjoy and it's really close to Florence and far from the crowds.

Tuscany map & Cities


Imagine a beautiful little Tuscan town protected by massively thick 16th-century walls, featuring some of Italy's finest medieval and Renaissance architecture, superb dining, antique markets, classical and rock music festivals, easy access to stunning nearby villas in the surrounding hills and with endless beaches less than half an hour away. Lucca is one of Tuscany's best-kept secrets.

A wealthy and colorful town that draws a more discerning tourist than Florence or Pisa, it is sufficiently off the beaten track to have kept its civility and reserve. Lucca is a city of merchants who know how to woo the visitor and the shopper, but the pace of life varies between slow and slower.

click now to open the vicinity map of luccaVicinity map of Lucca area area map 1 area map 2 area map 3

The villas and farmhouses within 15 kilometers (10 miles) of the city, in the provinces of Lucca and neighboring Capannori, are already sought after as summer rentals by European visitors, and now the area is becoming an alternative to some of the more elite summer destinations in the United States.

Lucca has one particularly stunning feature - ancient ramparts that ring the old city. The inhabitants built these brick walls in the 16th century for defense. Today, walk (or bike) around the city on the wide shaded walkways atop the walls. If that doesn't tire you out, climb up the Torre Guinigi - the 130 ft. tower has an ancient oak tree on top!

Lucca from Guinigi Tower

Worth seeing are the churches San Michele in Foro and San Frediano, the cathedral San Martino, the shopping street via Fillungo, Palazzo and Torre Guinigi (14th c.), the latter is one of the few still existing, plant with stone oaks, clan towers (at the heyday of Lucca in the city there were, inclusive church towers, about 170 towers) and the Piazza Anfiteatro. On the ruins of the Roman amphitheater, churches and houses were built, which now form a beautiful oval square. The best ice, by the way, you can buy at the Gelateria Pinguino in Piazza Napoleone.

Villas and gardens
The enormous and beautifully conserved villas and gardens of the Lucca hills have become a major attraction for visitors to the town. The Villa Reale (Via Fraga Alta, Marlia, 5 kilometers from Lucca, tel: (39-0583) 30-108) features a guided tour of its vast gardens on mornings and late afternoons, except Monday, always on the hour. The gardens and ground floor of the Villa Mansi, with its Baroque facade, are part of one of the most exquisite villas in the area (Segromigno in Monte, near Marlia; Phone: (39-0583) 920-234, closed at lunchtime).

Lucca is situated 19 m. above sea level on an alluvial plateau, to the left of the Serchio river, not far from the Tyrrhenian coast. An important road junction in Roman times, Lucca was the capital of the Lombard Duchy of Tuscia and subsequently (8th century) the seat of the Carolingian Marquisate of Tuscany. Established as a free municipality (early 12th century), the town grew in political and economical importance, though it was often troubled by internal disputes and rivalry with Pisa. In the first half of the 14th century, it was under various Signorie and in 1369 it became a Republic remaining independent, except during the Guinigi Signorie (1400-1430) and the Napoleonic period, until 1847 when it was included in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, from then on sharing its fortunes.

The town lies within a circle of 16th century walls which, in the 19th century, were transformed into a tree-lined avenue; it has therefore maintained its characteristic medieval structure.

Lucca from Guinigi Tower

The San Frediano church The San Frediano church (details)
The facade of the church is decorated with a lavish thirteenth century mosaic; the interior is worth seeing and houses a richly carved baptismal font as well as a shrine to Lucca's saint, Santa Zita. (details) Instantly distinguishable from other Romanesque churches of Lucca by its golden mosaic high on the facade, the church of San Frediano is also of interest internally. The huge twelfth century baptismal font, the Fonte Lustrale, lies immediately at the entrance and is decorated with biblical scenes attributed to three different craftsmen. The church also houses a shrine to Santa Zita, Lucca's saint, whose mummified body is brought out once a year when she may be touched by the devout.

Monuments: Duomo (11th-13th century, Romanesque) housing the Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto, a sculptural masterpiece by Jacopo della Quercia (1408), church of S. Maria Foris portam (13th-16th century), Case dei Guinigi (a complex of 14th century towers and buildings), church of S. Michele in Foro (12th-13th century, Pisan-Lucca architecture with a rich interior), church of S. Frediano (12th century, Romanesque, with a large mosaic of the Ascension, 13th century on the façade), Palazzo Mansi (17th century), Palazzo Pretorio (16th century), Villa of Paolo Guinigi (15th century), remains of the Roman amphitheatre (structure of the present Piazza del Mercato).


"Piazza Anfiteatro" Piazza of the Amphitheatre. - Built on the site of an original Roman amphitheatre, Piazza Anfiteatro is another ‘must-see' in Lucca. Some original Roman elements remain, particularly within the outer walls. This ancient site constitutes one of the most characteristic and original monuments of the city. The ancient amphitheatre dates from the 2nd century A.D. It was built on an elliptical plan with two rows of 54 arcades and a maximum capacity of 10,000 spectators. Beginning in the Middle Ages, houses were built over the ruins. Over the course of time the piazza developed its characteristic elliptical shape, with buildings all around it. The ancient remains are still quite evident today. The colorful piazza was restored in 1830. Enlivened by shops and cafes, it is still at the center of cultural activities, music festivals, and fairs.

Lucca's economy is based on agricultural produce from the fertile surrounding countryside (olives, fruit, cereals, grapes) and the town acts as a commercial and transformation centre (oil mills). Industry is traditionally present in textiles and clothing but there are also chemical, engineering and building firms.

View of "Via Fillungo" the main shopping street of Lucca downtown. The ancient cardo maximus of the Roman city is today a lively street with elegant traditional shops, medieval towers (of which the oldest and most interesting is the Tower of Hours, which can be visited), and noblemen’s palaces.




Guinigi Tower.
The palace and the tree-topped tower, belonging to the prestigious merchant family of the Guinigi, are located in one of the most characteristic medieval neighborhoods of the city. It is the only remaining example of home of Gothic nobility, with elegant quadriforium on the facades, large internal rooms, and a second doorway for carriage access.

Events: Festa della S. Croce (13th September), Palio della Balestra (July and September), Cartoon film salon (autumn).

Famous People: Luigi Boccherini (musician, 1743-1805), Giacomo Puccini (musician, 1858-1924), Francesco Carrara (jurist, 1805-1888), Matteo Civitali (sculptor and architect, 1436-1501), Bonagiunta Orbiciani (poet, 1230-1300).

Cultural Institutions: Academy of Lucca of Science, Letters and Arts, National Museum of Villa Guinigi, National Art Gallery, libraries, Giglio Theatre.

Wander into the splendor of the Piazza San Michele in Lucca and choose any of the easygoing bar-cafes around the main square, where, enjoying a glass of local white wine or a gin and tonic, you can watch the locals bicycle around town.
Lucca is a city to stroll through, from the walls to the Roman amphitheater, which is now bordered by chic boutiques and restaurants. The town also offers bicycle rentals by the day or the week. The 16th-century red brick walls of the town, offering a wide and peaceful road shaded by chestnut trees, are a favorite place for walking, jogging or cycling. For those who wish to swim in the sea, the coastal strip of Versilia, from Forte dei Marmi to Torre del Lago Puccini, offers more than 20 kilometers (12 miles) of beaches, parks and splendid countryside. Most beaches can be reached from Lucca by car in 30 to 45 minutes. (go there)

In the Province: Viareggio (seaside resort, famous carnival), Pietrasanta, Camaiore, Forte dei Marmi. Massaciuccoli's Lake (House of Giacomo Puccini)

The San Martino church (above)
Duomo di San Martino
? This Romanesque cathedral contains a famous relic, the Volto Santo (Holy Face), a wooden figure of Christ. The Volto Santo is believed to be the true face of Christ, carved by Nicodemus who was present at the crucifixion.
The Cathedral was completely rebuilt between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries; in 1261 it was joined to the adjoining bell-tower, hence the unusual asymmetry of the facade and its smaller arch to the right.
Some of the carving dates back to the fifth century and some work has been attributed to Nicola Pisano.
The tomb of Ilaria is the work of Lucca's famous son, Matteo Civitali, and dates from the fifteenth century. The Volto Santo (Holy Face) is a wooden effigy that is said to be a true image of Christ, carved by Nicodemus at the crucifixion. Once a year the revered effigy is removed to head a procession through the streets of Lucca. Cathedral Museum. Rising alongside the Duomo, the museum is located in a complex of medieval origin. It houses a patrimony of inestimable artistic and historical value. Included in the collection are miniature codices, jewelry, paintings, liturgical dress, sculptures and wooden crosses, organized according to a chronological and didactic order, belonging as well to the Cathedral and the Baptistery of S. Giovanni. Admission is charged; closed Mondays

The Volto Santo (Holy Face) in the chathedral "San Martino" of Lucca.

Tintoretto, (1592) Ultima cena (the last supper of Jesus)

Tomb of Ilaria del Carretto year 1406-13 Marble, sarcophagus 244 x 88 x 66,5 cm, effigy 204 x 69 cm
Cathedral of San Martino, Lucca Ilaria del Carretto, who died at aged twenty-six after giving birth to her second child in 1405, was the second wife of Paolo Guinigi, the local merchant tyrant in Lucca. Her tomb, indebted to French precedents, was partially destroyed by the Lucchese in 1430 after Guinigi's expulsion and has been moved at least twice. What remains is a sarcophagus and an effigy, strongly influenced by northern types and courtly costumes - not surprising given Guinigi's commercial links with Burgundy and France. A dog, symbol of fidelity, looks up expectantly at his mistress from her feet. Ilaria seems to be sleeping with her hands over her swollen abdomen to remind us of the cause of her death. Her breasts fall to either side naturalistically, underlying the fact that her flesh is of this world.

The San Michele church (above)

Almost certainly the most photographed view in Lucca, the facade of San Michele in Foro is a delight. The upper section gives the impression of a propped-up film set - the windows look through onto thin air - as money ran out before that part of the church could be raised to the level of the facade. Every single column is different; some are elaborately carved, some twisted and spiralling, others are like striped sweets. Look up at the figure of the archangel - the wings are hinged and may be retracted if the wind gets up!
If you catch sight of a glimmer up above then you are in for some good luck - you'll have seen the jewel in a ring on the hand of the statue. Start the interactive virtual tour: it's free !

Enjoy the best tuscany interactive virtual tour 360
Tuscan panorama photos virtual tour

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