If there were heaven on Earth, Tuscany would be it. Each one of its towns is better than the other, and Lucca is not an exception. It is an amazing combination of Roman layout and medieval architecture. Its medieval walls are, still today, one of its main tourist attractions.


Piazza dell'Anfiteatro in Lucca, a great place for a drink and a snack


Lucca is part of our suggested tour of lesser known Tuscany.


The walls have an actual length of approximately 4 kilometers (a bit over 2.5 miles), and they are in perfect conditions. It is indeed possible to walk and ride a bike on them, as there is a road on top. It is important to understand that city walls in the Middle Ages were not just used for defensive purposes, but also to offer a way to move around the city without having to go through it, but rather around it,  just as it happens with modern, cross-town highways. Lucca's medieval walls, though, are far from the cement and billboards-laden thruways of today: very pleasant to walk through, full of trees, green and benches to sit and relax, they make a perfect, romantic stop for lovers. 


An external view of Lucca's Walls (


Inside the walls, it is the historical center of the city, that has not changed since its original foundation. It is simply gorgeous and breathtaking, and it truly feels like walking in the past, into a beautiful place, frozen in time.


Cathedral of St. Michele in Lucca


Just like in ancient times, access to the city is possible only through the city walls' gates – there is six of them – a truly suggestive way to enter a city, indeed.


Porta San Gervasio, one of Lucca's six Gates, by night (


In the past, Lucca was also connected to the sea, as it had a river port that was much used for transportation. It was indeed a beautiful net of creeks that eventually led to the river Arno and the sea. The fluvial port was widely used until the late 1800's, but is no longer visible today.

Lucca today remains a very exclusive town, rich but very self centered and self sustained, however very open and friendly to visitors. It is a city that must be visited and it can be easily considered one of the most beautiful towns in the country, if not in the world.


See also: The old town in Lucca.




Saturday, July 16TH, 2011 by Guest

Lucca is hardly unknown these days. I have deep family roots around Lucca and first visited there in 1981......back then Lucca WAS unknown. Today if you go there and think you'll avoid the usual crowds of visitors, think again. Last summer whilst visiting my cousins who live in the hills above Lucca, my wife and I spent a pleasant enough day "in citta." BUT I christened that "the day of Lucca-stadt" because the place was packed to the bell towers with Germans. For a while I thought we had been transported to Germany because I don't believe I heard a word of Italian being spoken.

All this aside, Lucca is impressive.....but it's unfortunate that it has received so much press this year as "unknown." It isn't and it doesn't need to become another Cinque Terra.