Best Places To Stay In Lucca Italy – This beautiful, walled Tuscan city may not have the fame of cities like Florence or even Siena, but charming Lucca is definitely worth a visit.
Years ago, Lucca was one of the first places we visited in Tuscany, and many visits later, we remain captivated by its magic.
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If you are looking for a place to stay in Tuscany that is more lively than the city on top of the mountain but lower than Florence, Lucca is a wonderful choice.
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This is one of those cities that gets better when you taste more – and while you can see many of the best sights in one day if you have to, there’s a good chance you’ll want to stay longer. .
The once important defense system, however, has turned into one of the best places to visit in Lucca.
The walls are wide, shaded and offer a great view of the city – in other words, it’s a great place for a long walk or bike ride!
Lucca’s amazing Amphitheater Square is notable for several reasons: its busy nature, the beauty of its oval shape surrounded by colorful Tuscan buildings… and the fact that it was built on the site of the first Roman theater!
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Dating back 2000 years, this amphitheater is now a beautiful public space and a great place to have a drink and watch the world go by.
We found the drink prices in the piazza more reasonable than you might expect and enjoyed a delicious afternoon drink at Da Gherardo.
While you can thoroughly explore the best things to see in Lucca independently, if you are short on time and want to make sure you don’t miss anything, a walking tour is the perfect solution!
This two-hour guided tour will quickly show you some of the best things to see in Lucca, with a lot of historical context and without worrying about changes.
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One of Lucca’s nicknames is the “City of a Hundred Churches”… and it’s definitely an award-winning nickname!
For a city with so many churches, however, you may be surprised to learn that the city’s cathedral is a bit far away.
It’s still in the historic center, but it’s probably not the first church you’ll come across if you pass through town (or, as was the case with many pilgrims over the centuries, if you walk the Via Francigena).
At the time of its construction, it is believed that the city center was already very crowded due to the new cathedral, so it was built close to the city walls.
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(Also, a side note for people like us who walk their dogs: you’ll also find a nice, grassy lawn for your dogs here!).
You can also climb the bell tower if you choose, but unless you want to climb more than one, we recommend saving this activity for…
There is no shortage of climbing towers in Tuscany, but Lucca’s Torre Guinigi may be the most unique of them all.
Climb the 233 steps to reach the top of this 14th century tower and you will be greeted by many oak trees that grow to the sky!
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The view of Lucca and the surrounding area from the top is amazing, but one cannot deny that it is the trees that make climbing this tower one of the most unique things to do in Lucca.
I already mentioned this when discussing the city walls, but the walls are far from the only place to go around in Lucca!
Unlike many Tuscan towns, Lucca is calm, which lends itself to getting around the historic area by bike.
One of the best things to do in Lucca is to rent bikes for the day and explore the area’s history and past.
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One of the best things to do in Lucca is to take a small or private cooking class at the home of a local chef.
A few years ago, my grandmother, aunt, wife and I took one of these classes together and had so much fun!
From the olive oil tasting to the market visit to the delicious lunch we enjoyed at the end of the session, it was a great way to spend a day in Lucca, and one none of us will soon forget.
This well-researched course is similar to the one we took and would be a great trip for any group of foodies visiting Lucca.
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If you are looking for handmade ceramics, unique art, beautiful fabrics, well made at home or beautiful clothes, Lucca is the place to be!
In general, we found shopping in Lucca more interesting than in the nearby towns in Tuscany: it is big enough to have a wide selection and many attractive shops, but small enough to not be full of souvenir shops (although there are many of them) .
Although there are large ones found throughout the city, Via Fillungo is Lucca’s main shopping street and is a good place to start.
In a city full of churches, the Basilica of San Freidano is both one of the oldest (from the sixth century!) and one of the most memorable.
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As soon as you enter, the Basilica of San Freidano catches the eye: the brilliant 13th century mosaic on its facade is amazing and is on any list of things to do in Lucca.
Go inside, though, and you’ll find another miracle: the mother of Santa Zita, an “incorruptible” poor woman who died in 1272 and was buried in the womb.
Perhaps even more surprising, however, is the fact that it is not the only mother who appears in the church in Lucca…
Dating from 795 AD, the Basilica of San Michele in Foro is one of the most famous churches in Lucca.
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It also happens to be built on the site of the Roman Agora, and the surrounding walled area remains an element of public life.
From students hanging out to tourists drinking coffee, there’s always plenty to do outside the Basilica of San Michele in Foro!
But we go inside and walk up to the altar, and we encounter a strange sight: the mother of San Davino is hidden in a glass under the altar.
San Davino was an Armenian pilgrim in the 11th century and today calls the Basilica of San Michele in Foro his final resting place.
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Step into the magnificent baroque garden at the Pfanner Palace and you might forget you’re in the middle of Lucca!
While you can see part of the palace, only a small part of it is open to the public.
The gardens are where Palazzo Pfanner really shines, and it’s worth putting before the building itself when looking for the best things to do in Lucca.
Dating from the 13th century, Lucca’s clock tower – like the Guinigi Tower and many other towers in Tuscany – was built as a secret defense tower by a local family.
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At 50 meters high, it is the highest goal in Lucca (Torre Guinigi is “only” 45 meters high).
While Torre Guinigi is more unique, climbing the Torre del’Ore allows you to admire the oak trees at Torre Guinigi from afar.
Whichever tower you choose to climb (if you want to exercise, you can always climb both!), you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of Lucca.
Peaceful and charming, Lucca’s small botanical garden has plenty of shade, plants from around the world and beautiful views.
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The garden was founded in 1820 by Maria Louisa Bourbon, then Duchess of Lucca, located within the city walls.
This bakery has a well-deserved following and while they make all kinds of delicious breads and cakes, the focaccia stands out!
The focaccia is served by the kilo and while you can take it home, it is best eaten fresh.
Puccini was responsible for masterpieces such as Madame Butterfly and Tosca, and almost a century after his death, he is still the most famous Italian composer.
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The Puccini Museum is located in the Maestro’s former home and is the perfect place to get to know the man behind the music.
If you want to experience Puccini’s music for yourself, consider going to one of the Puccini concerts held at your local church!
This wide, tree-lined square is best known for its history (remains of demolished Neapolitan-era buildings can be found here) and for being the most famous theater in Lucca!
Whether there is a festival in town or not, however, this square is worth a stroll when visiting Lucca, Italy.
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This ring-shaped cake is similar to Lucca and is fun to try if you want to try traditional food in the city.
Enjoy: if nothing else, Lucca is at its best in the morning and evening!
We have stayed in Lucca several times, both in the historic area and in the house we had as a family a few miles from the center.
Affittacamere del Centro – Within the city walls, Affittacamere del Centro gets good reviews for its simple, clean rooms that are ideally located for exploring Lucca.
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If you hope to visit Lucca on a budget without staying in a hostel or outside the city walls, this is perfect.