We arrived by train from Florence following a little over an hour journey. Our Airbnb host was gracious enough to pick us up at the train station and in minutes we were at our new temporary residence. The train station is conveniently located near the center of the city and a few minutes’ walk into the old walled center where most of the exploring is to be had.
Lucca is an ancient walled city surrounded by more modern urban development and is known as the city of 101 churches. Usually attached to a church it also has many ancient towers you can climb for some magnificent views of the city. As with most of the Italian cities it has more than its fair share of museums and art galleries to view but we mostly enjoyed just exploring its labyrinth of streets and parks. And of coarse it has lots pizzerias, cafes, restaurants and gelaterias to indulge your cravings.
Lucca surprised us and turned out to be one of our favorite cities so far. It has lots of Italian charm as much if not more than all the major touristic cities such as Florence and Rome but without the crowds. It’s beautiful, easy to walk or better yet rent a bike when you first arrive and do the circuit around the wall to get a feel for the old city. Lucca has a strong biking culture and a lot of the residents use them to navigate the city center and outskirts with lots of paths connecting the urban and rural areas. Bikes can easily be rented around the walled entrances into the center.
Lucca is conveniently located in the heart of Tuscany and close to other noted cities such as Siena, Florence, San Gimignano and Pisa which can easily be reached by bus or train. We decided to make a day trip into Pisa to view the famous leaning tower by train and had an enjoyable day visiting this famous town. A day provides plenty of time for visiting Pisa as the tower, cathedral, baptistery and sites are all in one center or piazza. We had a spectacular sunny day and enjoyed a relaxing time in Pisa. To get too or from the train station its just a short walk of about 20 minutes towards the river Arno and over the bridge.
Lucca should be on your list if visiting this area, most of the people we spoke to all touted how much they loved Lucca and you will to. From Lucca we boarded another train for the next leg of our journey to the city of La Spezia which was to be our base for seeing the famed Italian Riviera: the Cinque Terre and Portofino.
As usual, here is a link to the photos and our video of Lucca below.