Things to see and do in and around the city of Lucca

January 31, 2014

A visit to the lovely Lucca, an ancient Tuscan city situated in the north-west of this Italian region, can only begin by the majestic sixteenth century Walls that enclose the old city and constitute its real symbol: this unique example of the defensive walls of the modern age arrived intact to the present day, over time were transformed into a wooded place where you can walk, play sports, or simply enjoy the picturesque panorama of the city. From the view of the Walls stand imperious the Guinigi Tower, built around 1390 and 45 meters high, and the Tower of the Hours.

The first thing you see when you enter the old town are the beautiful churches: it's not a surprise that Lucca is traditionally referred to as the "City of a hundred churches". The most important is the cathedral dedicated to St. Martin, which contains masterpieces by Nicola Pisano, Jacopo della Quercia and Tintoretto, but the churches of San Michele in Foro and San Frediano deserve a thorough visit, too. Continuing the tour of the city, we recommend a walk on Via Fillungo, the main street that cuts through the old town, and especially in the adjacent Piazza Anfiteatro, widely considered one of the most beautiful in Italy: the characteristic element of this square is the absence of large openings, because the access is by four small doors with a vault that give the curious appearance of a "closed square". No less beautiful is Piazza Napoleone, regular home of an important Summer Festival that every year, in the month of July, hosts big Italian and international stars from the world of rock music.

Lucca also hosts the Lucca Comics & Games, a famous international festival of comics, recognized as the best in Italy and among the most interesting in Europe, which involves the entire city in the days between October and November and attracts thousands of tourists and visitors. Those who prefer more traditional cultural attractions can visit the National Museum of Villa Mansi, housed in a historic building dating back to 1600, which contains paintings of great value.

Finally, a look at the surroundings of Lucca, with their stunning natural landscape that deserves more than just a Sunday drive. A few minutes from the city center, there is the Serchio River Park, where you can walk, canoeing or hiking. Along the course of the Serchio, you can meet one of the most important tourist attractions of the area, the Devil's Bridge, and not far away are the picturesque villages of Monte Carlo, Capannori and Altopascio. And then the Garfagnana, so rich in rivers, lakes, forests and hills, to have deserved the definition of "Green Island" of Tuscany.

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