Lucca Travel Summary

Beautiful Lucca is a must visit for those travelling to Tuscany boasting medieval city walls, cobbled streets, lively piazzas and the outline of a second century Roman amphitheatre where gladiator shows and games were traditionally held.

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The Lucca Travel Summary is segmented into 2 key travel themes to immerse you into everything Lucca:

  1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town;
  2. What to See;

Hope you enjoy it!  Carpe Diem!

1. An introduction and brief history to this wonderful town:

Lucca’s perfectly preserved jewel of medieval architecture and buildings, emanates charm and shows layers of history from every corner of its narrow cobblestone streets.

Throughout Lucca you will find architecture from various historical chapters.  Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is the is a sensational square surrounded with tall medieval buildings that was once home to a Roman amphitheatre were gladiators once fought for there lives.  Lucca is also nicknamed the ‘City of 100 churches’ and has some superb churches e.g. the beautiful Romanesque-Pisan Duomo di San Martino.

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Lucca also boasts having a number of medieval towers.  Among the medieval towers, the Clock Tower is the highest, at 164 ft; here you can admire the hand-wound clock mechanism and the internal wooden staircase, with its well-preserved 207 steps. The Torre Guinigi is also a delight to ascend owing to its roof top garden.

Lucca also has some lovely piazzas.   Check out the Piazza San Michele which represents the historic heart of the city.  You will find Lucca’s Duomo in Piazza San Martino and Piazza del Giglio houses the theatre.

Lucca’s impressive Renaissance city walls entirely enclose the city and act as strong reminder of Lucca’s history as an independent city-state.   The centre of Lucca is predominantly pedestrian only making it a delight to walk around.  With its Roman and medieval heart, wonderful piazzas, churches, art galleries and cobbled streets lined with artisan and Italian fashion boutiques, Lucca is a great destination and Must Do for history lovers.  Lucca also has some fantastic museums and a fine selection of restaurants and bars.

 

2. What to See:

Lucca has a wealth of exploring to do – from medieval city walls and squares through to outstanding churches and towers with sublime views.  Here’s our pick:

Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is Lucca’s most beautiful squares is enclosed by brightly coloured buildings of differing heights
  • The square is the location of what used to be a Roman amphitheatre were Gladiators once fought to the death in front of crowds of up to 10,000 spectators within the piazza’s wall
  • Some of the Roman remains are still visible along via dell’Anfiteatro
  • The Piazza is a great place for al fresco dining

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Lucca Cathedral:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Lucca Cathedral also known as the San Martino Cathedral is a beautiful Romanesque marble cathedral with spectacular Romanesque sculptures on its facade and a crucifix sheltered inside
  • Dating from the 11th century the façade is constructed in a Lucca-Pisan style
  • Inside you can admire wonderful art including a magnificent Last Supper by Tintoretto above the third altar of the south aisle, and Domenico Ghirlandaio’s 1479 Madonna Enthroned with Saints

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San Michele in Foro:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Set on the popular piazza of the same name, this is Lucca’s most treasured house of worship
  • The piazza is placed over the remains of the ancient Roman forum, giving it the name “in foro
  • Dating from 1143, the influence of the Pisan Romanesque style can be seen in the façade, which is characterised by its immense height and a wealth of sculptures
  • At the top, a large marble statue depicts the Archangel Michael defeating the dragon

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Torre delle Ore:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Torre delle Ore, known as the Clock Tower, is the city’s tallest tower, dating back to the 13th century
  • The highest spot in Lucca is the top of this tower, which had its first mechanical clock in 1390
  • It is well worth climbing the 207 steps to the top which offers a magnificent panoramic view of Lucca
  • The tower’s large bells as they strike on the hour, therefore you may time your ascent to avoid the chimes if you want to preserve your hearing
  • More than 130 towers once dominated the Lucca skyline in the medieval era.  The affluent families built the structure as a defensive procedure as well as a representation of their wealth and power

 

Guinigi Tower:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Guinigi Tower is one of Lucca’s most famous landmarks, a medieval tower topped by a collection of oak trees
  • Rising 145 feet (44 meters) into the air and crowned by a roof garden of centuries-old holm oaks, Guinigi Tower is one of the most intriguing sights of the Lucchese skyline
  • Climb to the top via the 230 wide stone stairs
  • Seven Holm oaks were planted to create an aerial garden with a gorgeous view over the city. According to ancient chronicles, trees have been decorating the tower since the early 15th century, a creative way for families like the Guinigi to demonstrate their wealth

 

Lucca City Walls:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Lucca has one of the most impressive, completely preserved Renaissance-era city walls in Europe
  • The wall with the Italian name “Mura di Lucca” is about 4 km long and completely surrounds the old town
  • The city wall is 10 meters high in some places
  • The walls were designed by Leonardo Da Vinci and they were built in the 16th and 17th century

 

Palazzo Pfanner:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • Palazzo Pfanner is known for its baroque splendour and beautiful formal Italian gardens
  • Palazzo Pfanner, a 17th-century palace famous for its frescoes, walled garden and classical music concerts
  • The palazzo’s most popular attraction is the formal Italian garden. In the garden you will see Mediterranean plants, pools, statues, terraces and lawns

 

Basilica San Frediano:

AllThingsTravel Top Pick:

  • The Basilica of San Frediano is the oldest church in Lucca
  • The church is famous for the large mosaic on its façade, dating to the end of the 13th century and an extremely rare ornamentation in the Romanesque style
  • In Tuscany, the only other façade decorated like this is on the Church of San Miniato al Monte in Florence

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