The area of most interest to visitors is still enclosed within the old city's defensive walls. The top of these broad walls is a ring park, a pleasant place for walking.
Tourist CenterYou can deposit luggage here (€3 per bag up to 3 hours, €5 whole day), hire bikes and join guided bike tours (from €49 per person).
By planePisa Galileo Galilei International Airport (PSA) is 2 km south of Pisa. Flights from most large cities are available daily, and from major airports several per day. Car hire is available from all the major providers.
There's a direct "Viabus" from the airport to Lucca, one hour; buy your tickets (€4) beforehand at the kiosk within the arrivals hall. Otherwise take the "Pisamover" light railway to Pisa Centrale, and change there for trains to Lucca.
Viabus 11 calls at Florence Airport on its way to Florence Santa Maria Novella.
By trainThe is just south of the old town walls. Deposit luggage at the Tourist Center just outside.
Trains from Pisa Centrale run every 30 minutes. Lucca is also on the main line from Viareggio to Florence Santa Maria Novella, so there is a direct train at least hourly from both cities.
The main local operator is Viabus, with regular runs to Pisa, Florence and Barga. The is at Piazzale Verdi, just inside the walls west side of the old town.
By carDriving inside the walls is mostly reserved to residents, so park your car (there are car parks outside the walls and a couple inside, accessible by non-residents) and rent a bike. Several bicycle rental locations can be found near the North entrance to the city, Porta Santa Maria, near Porta San Pietro and walking from Porta Elisa towards the center. It is not a large city within the walls, so you may find it more enjoyable to simply walk around.
The city has many car parks located outside the wall, the largest two are on the North and South side. The A11 (E76) Runs from the coastal A12(E80) Autostrada across towards Firenze.
On foot: the old city is compact.
By bike: hardly necessary for the old city, but helpful if you've edge of town accommodation. Hire bikes from the Tourist Center at the railway station.
By bus: little navetti potter through the streets: a map of their nine routes is available at Vaibus. The only one you're likely to use is #11 from railway station to bus station, and #12 in the other direction. Last buses are at 20:00. As for other Italian buses, buy your ticket at any tobacconist, and cancel it when you board. A single ticket is €1.
City WallsOne can walk or cycle on top of the ancient city walls. The entire perimeter is approximately 4 km. This gives a good introduction to the city layout. Expect crowds in the summer months.
Piazza dell'AnfiteatroA former Roman amphitheater, but the remains of the amphitheater are gone. The houses there are of medieval origin, built where the spectator stands were.
Duomo di San Martinoaddress: Piazza di San MartinoRomanesque cathedral dating to 14th century. Contains the must-see Volto Santo and Ilaria del Carretto's Sarcophagus by Jacopo della Quercia (as of May 2014 you have to pay an additional 4 € to see this). Includes a sculpture of the crucifixion attributed to an eyewitness, Nicodemus. Some interesting carvings in the marble exterior, including a labyrinth.
Torre GuinigiThis is a tower with trees atop it, a very dramatic sight, with good views of the city. No lift, many stairs.
Torre delle OreAncient clock tower with original clock still working. It is possible to go upstairs in this tower for a beautiful view of the city and a good perspective of Fillungo street. Great views of Torre Guinigi's trees. No lift.
phone: +39 583 584028address: Corte San Lorenzo, 9This was Puccini's birthplace and is now a museum about the composer.
Saint Michael's Church
Saint Frediano's Church
Via FillungoMain street full of shops and bars.
Palazzo Pfannerphone: +39 340 923 30 85address: Via degli AsiliPreserved rooms formerly inhabited by the Pfanner family, as well as a pleasant garden. Also on display, some 19th century medical equipment.
Piazza NapoleoneLucca's largest square. Contains the large Palazzo Ducale, now a government building.
Domus RomanaRemains of an old Roman home, have been partially excavated, and may be seen at via Cesare Battisi 15 (at via San Giorgio).
Statue of Luigi Boccherini
- Lucca has many old churches, some of which now house art galleries.
- Puccini opera & recitals: The composer Puccini (1858-1924) was born and grew up in Lucca. His works are regularly performed here throughout the year. From 1891 he lived at Torre del Lago on the coast 20 km west, and built a villa there; the annual Puccini festival is held nearby. In 1921 a peat works polluted the neighbourhood so he moved to neighbouring Viareggio. is nowadays a museum and he's buried in the chapel there.
Bagni di Lucca's spaBagni di Lucca is laying between the Appenine Mountains giving a semblance of a climatic mountain resort despite it's 152 meters above sea level, perfectly integrated by the River Lima and Serchio, from which the Valley takes its name, can be considered an oasis of peace and serenity.
Puccini festivalAn opera festival dedicated to Puccini, staging all his best-loved works. It is held July to August in Torre del Lago on the coast near Lucca.
Lucca summer festivalA series of concerts by major international rock stars, held annually end of June into July. It's not like a "greenfield" rock festival with concentrated venue, time-span and mud. Most events are in Piazza Napoleone in the old town centre. Standing-room tickets are available, these are released separately as each act confirms their dates.
address: Piazza San RomanoThe largest comic book and gaming festival in Europe, held in the long week-end around November 1, a national holiday in Italy. It includes many events, guests and open-air market stands around the city centre, and the city is full with cosplayers in colourful costumes. 2018 festival is Wed 31 Oct - Sun 4 Nov, dates for 2019 not yet confirmed.
LIS Lucca Italian SchoolIf you want to learn and have fun at the same time, this school is a good choice. It provides courses and private lessons for students of any age and level in Italian language and culture.
phone: +39 0583 491902address: Piazza del Salvatore 7A decent wine and liquor store. One could spend some time poking around the four cellar rooms.
Only in Lucca you can find a special sweet-bread in shape of a small baguette or a bun. It's called Buccellato and it has raisins inside and has a unique taste of anise. You can find it in a small shop called Taddeucci, behind Saint Michael's church in the main square.
Trattoria da Leophone: +39 0583 492236address: Via Tegrimi 1Fairly typical Tuscan cuisine with some Luccan touches (e.g. pine nuts). The menu is only in Italian. Vegetarian friendly. Reservations are a good idea or arrive around 7:00.
Pizzeria La Bersaglieraphone: +39 0583510758address: Via Pisana 2136If you happen to have a car, do check out this pizzeria, just ten minutes drive outside of town, it's worth. The owners come from Calabria, so you are likely to find all kinds of spicy salami, olives, mushrooms on top of your pizza. A different meal, served by distracted waitresses. Beware: You can't have your espresso coffee there. Being asked for coffees, the old owner – I don't think she's still around – used to reply: "Yeah, go get that at La Cubana", which is a bar downtown. Oh, and you can't make reservations: Be there by 7PM.
Forno a vapore Amedeo Giustiphone: +39 0583 496285address: Via Santa Lucia 18/20Strolling along the Torre Guinigi (the one with trees on top), you'll probably sniff some irresistible oily and flory smell. It's called focaccia, the Lucchese idea of a snack.
Vecchia Trattoria BuralliIt is practically hidden on via San Giorgio and one of the best restaurants. With a constantly changing menu and an extensive wine list.
Buca di San AntonioEnjoys a high reputation for local dishes prepared in the traditional Lucchesi style.
Ristorante GiglioOffering wonderful Lucchesi cuisine, attentive staff and a delightful terrace overlooking the square.
It is delicious and quite refreshing. In fact, it tastes better than most bottled water.
The digestive tonic China Massagli is produced at the Farmacia Massagli in Lucca. This is an eminent example of the "china" style of amaro (Italian potable bitters). If you ask for an "amaro locale" at a restaurant, this is likely what you will receive.
Biadina is another local style of bitters, bottled by Massagli and other producers; this drink is often sold with a small pack of pine nuts.
Compared to Florence or Siena, there is relatively little late night activity on the streets of old Lucca. The San Colombano, on top of the walls, overlooking the train station, the Betty Blue (near piazza Santa Maria), the Rewine near San Michele and the Cupido and McCulloughs, outside the walls near the station are some of the bars open late, especially in the summer.
Most locals tend to make the short trip to Viareggio on the coast, which offers a far better selection of clubs, such as 7 Apples and La Canniccia.
Places within walking distance of the railway station and available at less than €50 a night include:
- Hotel Eurostars Toscana, 2 km south at intersection wioth Autostrada
- Corte de Templari 2 km southwest on Via Perduta
- B&B La Colonna in old town
- B&B Relais Puccini, west outside Porta S Donato
phone: +39 0583 495361address: Via Fillungo 1423 star with only 5 rooms, and on the second floor with no lift, this place is charming nonetheless. In old town centre.
phone: +39 0583 050534, +39 366 1648427address: Via San Paolino 8B&B in a historic building. First floor has a lounge and a double room with a patio. The second floor houses a brightly lit and spacious breakfast room with computer and internet access, terrace is on the third floor.
phone: +39 0583 935355address: Via Pesciatina 197 55012Four-star hotel set in the 18th C Villa Banchieri in the countryside east of the city.
phone: +39 0583 975088address: Via Pollinelle 19, San Martino in ColleIn rolling countryside east of Lucca, hotel has two suites, five rooms and three apartments all stylishly and originally furnished. The restaurant has a main kitchen with a wood oven and barbeque and two spacious dining areas. With swimming pool.
Albergo alla Corte degli Angeliphone: +39 0583 469204address: Via degli Angeli 23Small family run hotel within the walled town, a few steps from Piazza Anfiteatro and the main shopping street. Each room is decorated with a fresco on a floral theme, which continues into the bathroom. The rooms are spacious, comfortable and well-equipped. The breakfasts are excellent – as are the quirky egg-cups and ceramic coffee beakers. The staff are very friendly, helpful and professional.
phone: +39 0583 53516address: via Lorenzo Nottolini 10Large house with a garden, dating back to 1700. Four guest rooms, each with a private bathroom, 300 meters from entrance to old town.
phone: +39 0583936352address: via Pesciatina 143, CapannoriClean friendly B&B. Capannori is straggly ribbon-development along the Lucca road, good if you're coming by car.
phone: +39 0583 47615address: Via del Fosso 26 - 55100 Lucca - ItalyHotel Ilaria is a 4 star hotel in the historical center of Lucca, right in the old town walls. Rooms and suites are wide and comfortable. The hotel offers complimentary breakfast and complimentary bar corner with drinks and snacks available for guests all day long. The panoramic terrace has a jacuzzi for 8 people.
Palazzo Tucciphone: +39 0583 464279address: Via Cesare Battisti, 13Boutique hotel and historical residence located in the heart of the old town. Closed for much of Nov & Dec.
phone: +39 0583 152 2797address: via Nuova per PisaFive star hotel 2 km south of Lucca in an 1800s Tuscan Villa.With ten quiet and cozy rooms, restaurant, garden, swimming-pool and free parking.
- Pisa is an easy day-trip by train. For sights around the leaning tower, get off at Pisa San Rossore which is only 400 m west of it, while Pisa Centrale is 1.5 km south.
- Florence is also an easy day-trip, much better done by train (90 mins) even if you have a car.
- Garfagnana is a hilly, forested area north of Lucca, with the historic small town of Barga.
- Versilia is where the glitterati come to the seaside.