Lucca: 10 Beautiful Places To See
Lucca is an Italian city located in the Tuscany region, on the banks of the Serchio river. It is known for the Renaissance city walls that surround the historic center and for the cobbled streets.
The wide tree-lined walks on top of these 16th and 17th-century ramparts are very popular, on foot and by bicycle.
The birthplace of the great composer Giacomo Puccini is now a museum.
What to see in Lucca? What to do in this beautiful city in Tuscany?
Amphitheatre and cathedral, Puccini and botanical gardens, Lucca is an ideal destination for a weekend or for several days.
BellaItaliaTour has chosen for you 10 beautiful places to see in Lucca, for a holiday full of taste, traditions and history.
Italy, you already know, is a land full of small and big wonders, a treasure chest to discover.
Among the most beautiful cities in the boot, it is impossible not to mention Lucca: an illustrious history that mixes with legends, noteworthy artistic masterpieces and a fantastic geographical location, Lucca has always been a splendid and lively city of art, much loved and highly visited, and with enough interesting sites to see to spend a whole weekend or a short holiday without risking getting bored.
Roman settlement first, Granducato (Grand Duchy) then, later common and then again republic, surrounded by the Apuan Alps and the Garfagnana, Lucca is a top Italian destination, because it is able to offer a lot: from delicious local gastronomy up to a thousand architectural beauties to admire.
We tell you 10: the 10 things to see that you cannot miss if you are in Lucca. Take note!
Lucca, how to get there
The city is located about thirty kilometres from Pisa International Airport, a well-served port from all over Italy, even from low-cost airlines.
It is also an excellent starting point for exploring the north of Tuscany (the ideal is to have a car), or go further to discover the best pearls in the region.
1.Piazza dell’Anfiteatro (Amphitheater square)
Amphitheater Square is the heart of the city of Lucca, as well as one of its symbols.
Derived from an imposing amphitheatre built by the Romans (whose remains of the passage are still visible passing through Via dell’Anfiteatro), which imposed its elliptical closed shape, the square has always been a meeting place and a reference point for city life and politics in Lucca , so much so that in the Middle Ages you were renamed Parlascio, from the verb to speak.
Accomplice of the current beauty of Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is the architect Lorenzo Nottolini who in the nineteenth century dismantled some buildings built inside and built this urban masterpiece. A must-see, the first thing upon arrival in Lucca!
2. Cathedral of San Martino
Founded by San Frediano in the 6th century, the Cathedral of San Martino is another special place in Lucca. As soon as you approach this imposing and splendid religious building of Romanesque style, you are struck by the asymmetry of the facade before anything else! A curious and singular peculiarity, especially if you consider how rigid the canons of that time were.
Not to mention the interior: here you can see a thousand masterpieces that the Cathedral preserves, absolutely unmissable works such as the statue of San Martino and the Poor, the Last Supper by Tintoretto and the statue of Ilaria del Carretto, the work of Jacopo della Quercia.
3. The Walls of Lucca
The Walls of Lucca are most likely – and rightly so – among the first images that come to mind when we think of the Tuscan city.
In fact, we are talking about an artistic masterpiece with few comparisons on a European urban level.
Built between five hundred and six hundred, they stretch for four and a half kilometres, with their eleven bastions, three gates and the spectacular urban park, where you can admire the beauty of ancient trees and, together, refresh yourself during the walk.
The place is not only a fixed destination for tourists, but also one of the places most loved by the citizens of Lucca: go and see and you will understand why.
4. Botanical garden
Near the historic center of Lucca there is the possibility of getting lost in a precious green corner. We are talking about the Botanical Garden, an important and splendid garden covering two hectares and built-in 1820 by the Duchess Maria Luisa of Bourbon.
A long and prestigious history and an important present (currently hosting the Regional Bank of Genoplasma) have made the Botanical Garden of Lucca a very rich nursery with hundreds of species inside. To be seen!
5. Church of San Michele
Another important place of worship to visit in Lucca is the Church of San Michele, located right in the square of the same name.
The church, with its imposing and majestic facade, was commissioned, at the beginning of the year 1000, by Pope Alexander II and, since its construction was very long, today it is a splendid overlap of styles, from Gothic to Romanesque.
Take five minutes to check if the legend is true: at the top of the facade, the statue of the archangel Michael is said to have a ring with a gigantic diamond, the shimmer of which can only be admired in some places in the square. Look for them all!
6. Piazza Napoleone
An important name for an important place.
Here was the Augusta Fortress, the residence of the Ghibelline and lord of Lucca, Castruccio Castracani, and right here in the early nineteenth century Elisa Bonaparte Baciocchi – Napoleon’s sister – began to think about building something truly impressive: the Congress of Vienna did tinge everything, but the subsequent command of Maria Luisa of Bourbon meant that the important projects were not lost and therefore today you can admire the Palazzo Ducale and the seat of the Art Institute of Lucca, heir of the Lucchese Academy of Fine Arts.
A mandatory passage to see in the city, in short.
7. Torre delle Ore (Tower of the Hours)
The Torre delle Ore was built in 1390, and has recently been restored. It is the highest tower in Lucca, and can only be reached after climbing the famous 207 steps of the original wooden staircase, still in excellent condition.
The current watch was made in 1754 thanks to the collaboration of the Lucca watchmakers, and its manual mechanism is still one of the most important working examples worldwide.
Find the time … to see it!
8. Torre Guinigi (Guinigi Tower)
From one wonder to another: among all the towers that belonged to private families in Lucca, the Guinigi Tower is the only one that has not been destroyed.
For this reason, it is still possible to appreciate the unique spectacle of the 45 meters high put together brick by brick, and of a splendid roof garden on its top, a spectacular feature that distinguishes it.
You can imagine what an incredible landscape you can appreciate from there …
9. Chiesa di San Frediano (Church of San Frediano)
Wanted by San Frediano, who was Bishop of Lucca in the fifth century AD, the church sees the heartfelt procession of the Holy Cross start right in front of its portal on September 13 of each year.
Of fascinating medieval impact, San Frediano is also famous for the mosaic depicting the rise of Christ to heaven.
Equally worthy of attention is the baptismal font placed to the right of the entrance, embellished with beautiful reliefs depicting sacred scenes.
A microcosm to explore!
10. Puccini Museum
As it should be, Lucca pays homage to one of its most illustrious citizens – Giacomo Puccini – with a dedicated museum.
In the heart of the town, the second-floor apartment where Puccini was born on 22 December 1858 was transformed into a museum in 1979 (and reopened to the public in 2011).
The years of youth and the first approaches to music are testified, in this almost magical place, by objects belonging to the legendary composer: scores, instruments, letters, even stage costumes!
A journey through time to get to know an immortal artist.