The beautiful little city just as pretty as Florence but without the tourists | World | News

December 30, 2023
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This gorgeous little city in Italy is just as pretty as Florence but visitors are amazed to find far less tourists in the hidden gem. Lucca stands out as one of the most beloved cities in Tuscany, making it an indispensable stop on any itinerary. 

While the city is compact enough to be visited in a day, those seeking a richer experience may find it worthwhile to linger for a few days or even use it as a strategic base for exploring central or northern Tuscany.

Situated on a plain at the base of the Apuan Alps, Lucca offers a unique advantage—it is not a hilltop village. This characteristic makes it particularly accessible for individuals with mobility issues and provides a welcome reprieve for those seeking respite from uphill climbs.

Lucca’s convenient location, less than half an hour from the Versilia coast, adds to its allure. Accessible both by car and train from Pisa and Florence, the city is well-suited for travelers relying solely on public transportation.

The city’s attractions showcases its ancient history. From the remnants of a Roman amphitheater evident in the layout of Piazza dell’Anfiteatro to the archaeological discoveries beneath the 12th-century church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata (the original city cathedral, situated just around the corner from the present-day San Martino Cathedral), Lucca is a living testament to its past.

Towers and villas dating from the 12th to 16th centuries further enrich the historical landscape.

Remarkably, as Lucca evolved and modernized, it retained its historic walls—a rarity compared to many other Tuscan cities, including Florence. 

The walls, no longer militarily significant, were repurposed into a pedestrian promenade, now one of Lucca’s main attractions. 

This green belt around the city serves as a park, offering a serene environment with lush grass, trees, and a pathway for leisurely activities. 

Visitors can enjoy a bike ride along the entire perimeter, a leisurely stroll with a gelato in hand, or a peaceful break on the shaded benches that line the main walkway.

Among the city’s top attractions are the Piazza of San Michele with the stunning Church of San Michele in Foro, the Basilica of San Frediano, and notable landmarks like the Clock Tower and Guinigi Tower.

Venturing beyond Lucca, the surrounding province offers compelling destinations such as the beaches of Versilia, the majestic Apuan Alps, and the enchanting Garfagnana region with its charming villages, including the picturesque Barga. 

The area around Lucca beckons with a wealth of experiences and sights waiting to be explored.

The place has received wonderful reviews on TripAdvisor. 

One user said: “Only 30 mins or so from Pisa via train or car, Lucca is great for a long weekend. It is a large town with so much history and yet not too many tourists. The old walls that surround Lucca are great for cycling around; it feels like you’re in a park with groups of Italian old men sitting and chatting and joggers continuously lapping you.

“Inside the city walls are a great number of piazzas, churches and even a huge tower with a tree at the top. The cafes and restaurants are reasonably priced and very relaxed. So, for a quick and well-priced get away with plenty to do, Lucca is a must visit.”

Another user said: “Lucca is an ancient city of Italy, full of old charm with city wall wrapping around the city centre, showing the characteristics of the city defence of yesterday years. Building architecture is original and interesting. It was so easy to spend a day there and forgetting the outside buzz ling world.

“There are a few flea markets, all selling used house fittings or antique style fittings and interesting contemporary paintings. I found walking through them was fun. Almost every building is occupied. I was impressed by how the Lucca residents had converted a historic large showground into town residence, leaving most of the building structure intact. The tranquillity and the town ambience are unique, which made drinking coffee at the local cafe so much more interesting.

“When I got a bit lost amongst the narrow lanes of Lucca, I found it difficult to get directions, mainly due to the older residents not terribly conversant with English. I was lucky to run in some right age-group residents to untangle the maze like lanes to get back to my tour coach. I was some 15 minutes late and thanking to my travel partner to insist that they must wait till my return.”



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