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Just the right size for easy strolling, but filled with treasures to discover, Lucca is an immediate hit with anyone who goes there. Where else can you walk the city’s walls shaded by trees planted along the top? Trees grow even more surprisingly from the top of the tall, narrow Torre Guinigi, whose long flights of steps are made less tiring by the excuse to stop and admire the historic cartoons at each landing. The Guinigi Villa houses the Museo Nazionale, filled with Roman and Etruscan artifacts and Medieval altarpieces and stonework. Most surprising of all is Lucca’s “fossilized” Roman Amphitheatre, which was simply absorbed into the ...

Just the right size for easy strolling, but filled with treasures to discover, Lucca is an immediate hit with anyone who goes there. Where else can you walk the city’s walls shaded by trees planted along the top? Trees grow even more surprisingly from the top of the tall, narrow Torre Guinigi, whose long flights of steps are made less tiring by the excuse to stop and admire the historic cartoons at each landing. The Guinigi Villa houses the Museo Nazionale, filled with Roman and Etruscan artifacts and Medieval altarpieces and stonework. Most surprising of all is Lucca’s “fossilized” Roman Amphitheatre, which was simply absorbed into the streetscape, with homes and shops built into its curving walls until it was no longer visible. Circle it on a ring of narrow streets to discover its former stone arches randomly embedded into facades, then follow one of the low passageways into an oval piazza inside, once the floor of the arena. The exterior of the Duomo is decorated with ornate statues, and inside, a beautifully carved marble Tempieto holds the Volto Santo. This simple wooden crucifix is thought to be the only true portrait of Christ, sculpted by a contemporary. Look in the Sacristy for the marble tomb of Ilaria del Carretto, and in a side chapel for Tintoretto’s “Last Supper.” Puccini is Lucca’s favorite son, and he sang in the choir at San Michele in Foro, the city’s loveliest church, with a carved and inlaid marble facade; and his apartment overlooks a pretty little piazza nearby.

Stillman Rogers
About the Expert

Stillman Rogers has written more than two dozen guidebooks, including Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Guide to Eastern Canada, and Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Capital city of the Province of Lucca, situated in Tuscany on the river Serchio
  • Language: Italian
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring and fall; summer can be very hot, although Lucca is less crowded than nearby Pisa and Florence.