I am not writing about my trip to Italy in a chronological way but rather in the order of which I liked the places I visited. And I have to admit that Lucca was one of my favorite spots. It is a lovely town with a beautiful historical center and it is not over run with tourists.
We took the train from Florence SMN to Lucca. It only takes about an hour and you go through lovely countryside. The trains are clean and comfortable and very affordable. The Lucca Centrale station is only a block or so from the city walls. Lucca has intact medieval walls and they are a big draw.
Once inside the old city you can visit the beautiful piazzas, cathedrals and climb the many towers. I was simply happy to just walk around this charming city. We went to the food market and bought some apricots, walked to the Amphitheater plaza and ate there. I did like the shops at the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. I purchased several souvenirs there because they had a different variety than found in Florence and the prices seemed to be cheaper. I also saw several local specialties there which was a relief from the mass marketed things else where.
However, I have to admit that the best part was the lovely lunch we had there. We were walking along the narrow streets and we came by this restaurant with tables outside like many others but this one had a very nice gentleman and we just sat down. He brought us the best breadbasket I’ve ever eaten. It had different types of breads, bread sticks and some really good crackers.
I ate a Luccan tortoloni with pork and veal in it. It is supposed to be a Luccan specialty and it was lovely. My husband had raviolli with spinach and ricotta filling and a white sauce with truffle oil. He loved it. The fig and walnut pie was also really good. I love it when I come upon a lovely small restaurant with good food. It is like winning the lottery. The name of the restaurant is L’Isola che non c’era on via degli Angeli.
One of the unique things about Lucca is that it has many towers which you can climb. We climbed the Guinigi Tower which is the only one which has a garden on top. After the workout of getting to top in increasingly narrower stairs you are rewarded with breathtaking views of the city and surrounding countryside. It is worth the effort and the cost.
There are many more sights, cathedrals and museums you can visit in Lucca but we just wanted a carefree morning walking around and seeing what we ran into rather than following an itinerary. The last thing we did before leaving for Pisa was my favorite, we rented bikes and rode on top of the city walls. It was a great way to see all the sights, the gardens and lovely buildings and getting some exercising (other than walking). You can also hire a carriage but most every one rents a bike from one of the many shops around town. It only costs 3 Euros per hour and the bikes are really nice.
I am so glad I went to Lucca. It was a lovely break from bustling Florence and the sights couldn’t have been prettier. I would highly recommend it as a day trip from Florence.