To be honest, I had never even heard of Lucca until a few months before our trip to Italy. But as soon as Andy told me the city still had its medieval walls, I was excited to see it. We made it our first side trip during our month-long stay in Pisa, and luckily it was a sunny day. We loved Lucca so much, and I think it should be higher on people’s list of places to see in Tuscany.
Andy and I love to see cities from above, so if there’s a tower of some kind, we’ll usually climb it. Lucca has many towers, and we climbed the Torre della Ore (Clock Tower). The first clock was mounted on the tower in 1390, and it is the tallest tower in the city. There are 207 stairs to reach the top.
You can also climb the one pictured above with the trees on top of it, but one was enough for us. I also liked the idea of seeing that tower as opposed to climbing up it. But if you decide to climb both, there is a combo ticket that will save you a couple of bucks.
Lucca is one of the few cities in Europe that still has intact city walls. When you walk to the center of town from the train station, there are several gates or passageways through the walls. In several places, the tops of the walls are now covered in grass and trees where people sit to relax. The walls give the Lucca a look and feel like no other city.
Wandering Around Lucca
Though the tower and the walls were my favorite parts of Lucca, there are plenty of other beautiful sights to see. The Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is a big oval-shaped piazza that sits on the site of an ancient Roman amphitheater. The buildings on the piazza have a slight curve to them (or at least, it looks that way) forming the border of the piazza. It’s interesting to see, and if you’re hungry for a mediocre and/or overpriced meal, this is a good place for it. (No, that’s not what we did at all…)
Being that this is Italy, there were churches everywhere.
Practical Info for Visiting Lucca
Direct trains from Florence to Lucca take 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. Direct trains from Pisa to Lucca take 25 to 35 minutes. As long as you stick to the regional trains, you can buy tickets at the last minute or up to seven days in advance, and the price won’t change. At the time we went, it was 3.40€ per person each direction. Climbing the Clock Tower cost 4€ per person.
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