By Marian F.
Is visiting Lucca Worth it? The short answer is a resounding YES! In my opinion, Lucca is one of the most beautiful and peaceful towns in Tuscany. Its historic center has a unique feeling of calm and excitement all at once. If you are visiting Tuscany, then I highly recommend adding Lucca to your itinerary.
As it is only a half-hour train ride from Pisa, we love to visit every so often to do some shopping and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere. When I told Andrew that I was writing this article, he was quick to say that it is absolutely worth visiting Lucca. It is his favorite town in Tuscany, perhaps even in all of Italy so far.
Traveling is not always easy for me, don’t get me wrong, I love it, in theory. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here living as an expat in Italy. Currently, when it comes to actually going somewhere I am drenched with anxiety for reasons I don’t even understand. Part of it is just leaving my comfort zone, deciding if Wally will stay home with friends or come along with us, either way I need to make sure he has everything he needs. I could go on, but that is probably best for another post.
Anyways, Lucca is perfect for me. When I was really down, in the depths of my depression, we took a trip to Lucca. It was was still hard to leave home, to be around people, but it was also an easy way to go somewhere out of Pisa. I remember loving it, from that first experience, and that is probably an extra reason it has a special place in my heart.
Why Visiting Lucca is Worth the Trip
Yes, it is charming, as are so many towns and villages in Tuscany, so what makes Lucca stand out against the rest? It starts when you first leave the train station and you are greeted by the immense wall that surrounds the city. To enter you must navigate through a tunnel and then a staircase that will take you to the top of the wall.
Lucca has one of the last standing walls that surrounds the entire town center. It has been converted into a wide pathway where you can walk, run, bike, or just sit on a bench and enjoy the fresh air.
Wally loves to walk with us along the top of the wall, meeting other dogs, smelling all the trees. It is about two miles in total, making for a nice quick jaunt where you can also enjoy the views of both the countryside and old architecture. It is essentially a park surrounding the town with tall trees lining both sides of the pathway and lush green lawns on the outer side of the wall.
The Old Town Center
Once you have made your way down from the wall, you can wander and get lost in the streets lined with boutiques and eateries. The buildings remind me of Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. They are close together with slight leans and the streets are cobblestone.
I do not like crowds of people. I can take crowds of horses or dolphins, but not people. In Lucca it feels different. Even when crowded with tourists or locals doing their holiday shopping, the town casts a sort of spell and I enjoy my time to the fullest. The crowds don’t bother me, I am entranced by the beautiful churches, flower boxes, empty alleyways, and cute shops.
The main piazza (Piazza dell’Antiteatro) is unique in that it is an oval. Like other piazzas, it is full of overpriced cafes and restaurants, but it is still worth the visit for the visual reward. I admit that it is a bit troublesome to find. Andrew and I had quite a hard time finding it on our first visit and continue to on each visit. Once you have succeeded you’ll see how it was worth the hunt. The hunt itself will be a fun adventure.
While walking the winding streets of Lucca, be on the lookout for all of the churches. Lucca is known as the ‘city of 100 churches.’ There are no longer that many standing today, but there are still a lot. You can make it a game to count as many as possible. Many are beautifully clad in marble while some have a more plain brick facade.
You are able to enter some of the most iconic churches as well.
Is visiting Lucca worth it? Absolutely.
What to do while Visiting Lucca, 7 Ways to Fill Your Day
You may think we discussed all that we could about what there is to do in Lucca, but no, there is so much more! So far we have covered the wall, the churches, and the rewards of wandering, but there are also museums, monuments, and other things to do and see.
Walk, run, or ride a bike around the wall
- This is Wally’s favorite activity and a close second for me. It is so pleasant, especially towards the far end of the town.
Walk and shop along the streets
- This is my favorite activity in Lucca! Lucca is worth visiting just to wander and explore. There are many unique boutiques and artisan shops filled with kitchenware, decor, clothing, leather goods, and more.
- The food is also not to be missed. Enjoy a quick lunch by grabbing a sandwich, eating fresh pasta, or having a slice (or two) of pizza.
Visit Piazza dell’Antiteatro
- A unique and pleasant piazza to walk through. Its oval shape impresses me on every visit.
Visit the Churches (or at least some)
If you only have one day, chances are that you won’t be able to enter all of the town’s churches. I would be very impressed if you did! Here is a list of the most popular churches in Lucca:
Piazza Sant’Alessandro, 3, 55100 Lucca LU
- San Giusto Church
-Corte del Biancone, 5, 55100 Lucca LU
- Chiesa dei Santi Giovanni e Reparata
-Piazza S. Giovanni, 55100 Lucca LU
Climb Guingi Tower
This tower is hard to miss due to the trees growing from the top of its high tower. It is quite a surprise to see at first, as seeing greenery growing from a tower is not a normal sight. It is one of the last tower houses standing in Lucca. The Guingi family was one of the leading families of Lucca in the 13th century
The trees are a symbol of rebirth and were planted to give the tower a unique refined look as at the time many towers were going up around the city.
Even if you don’t have time or the desire to climb all of the steps of the tower, you can still enjoy it from below.
Website: Guingi Tower
Address: Via S. Andrea, Historic Center
Hours: Check the website as the hour’s change throughout the year
Cost: Full ticket is €5, combination tickets available to add botanical gardens and Torre Delle ore
Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico di Lucca)
There’s a two-hectare gem hidden in Lucca’s city center. Sitting against the wall in the Southeastern part of the old town, the garden is both a museum of living and nonliving artifacts. It was established in 1820 and has been lovingly cared for.
The garden is home to an arboretum, greenhouses, a pond, and a botanical school that has many medicinal plants. There is even a sensory path for the blind that has an audio recording to go along with it. The botanical garden aims to provide education on Tuscany’s important plants and those that risk extinction.
Website: Botanical Garden
Address: Via del Giardino Botanico 14, 55100 Lucca
Hours: Closed until March 21, 2022, Find ticket info HERE
If you are a fan of the opera then you may be a Puccini fan. The museum is dedicated to where he was born and grew up. The home has many mementos from Puccini’s life. He was born in 1858 and lived in this home into his later school years.
The museum opened in 1979 and was carefully restored in 2011 to represent exactly what Puccini’s home looked like when he lived there. You can follow his life and even see the piano where he composed Turandot as well as the costume that was worn by Maria Jeritza who performed in Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City in 1926. Music lovers won’t want to miss this museum.
Website: Puccini Museum
Address: Corte San Lorenzo, 9 – 55100 Lucca
Cost: Starting at €9
Hours: Check here for varying hours and reservations
So is Lucca Worth Visiting?
I hope that you are able to add Lucca to your Tuscan Itinerary as it is one of our favorite towns in Italy.
Have a fantastic time!
Looking for more to do near Lucca?
If you are looking for more to do in the area, check out Pisa and our post on Free and affordable things to do there. Barga is also a tiny yet worthwhile stop for those with extra time.
10 Free and Affordable Things to do in Pisa
Barga Italy, A Tuscan Gem
How to Get to Lucca by Train
Now that your question ‘Is Lucca worth visiting?’ has been answered, you may be wondering how to get there. Luckily Lucca is very accessible from both Florence and Pisa. The train will easily whisk you to Lucca’s train station which is directly across from the old town center.
Lucca is located 14 miles Northeast of Pisa and 48 miles West of Florence. If you are coming from Rome I recommend combining Lucca and Pisa to make the most out of your day. If time allows, spend the night and enjoy a more relaxing trip.
Time from Florence: 1hr 20min
Cost from Florence: €7.90 – €10.00
Time From Pisa: 27min
Cost From Pisa: €3.60
Time From Rome: Shortest time is about 3.5 hours
Cost From Rome: €27-€60 (depending on the train)
Is Lucca in Tuscany worth visiting? ›
The medieval cityscape is well preserved, so you can stroll through Lucca's picturesque alleyways, across impressive squares and past beautiful sights. In short: Anyone longing to visit a picture-perfect Italian town will love Lucca.Why should I visit Lucca Italy? ›
Lucca is blessed with a rich and diverse array of historical buildings, such as the 45m (125ft) romanesque-gothic Torre Guinigi – notable for its oak tree-clad rooftop and 232 steps. As well as the city's medieval skyscrapers, it's demarcated by 13th-century city gates like the chunky Porta San Donato.What is special about Lucca Italy? ›
Lucca is known throughout Italy for its fantastic medieval city walls that still encircle most of the historic old town. Originally this city was founded by the Etruscans and was then a Roman colony around 180 BC. During the Roman era, Lucca served as an important meeting place for Julius Caesar and Crassus.What is the most beautiful part of Tuscany? ›
- San Gimignano.
- San Quirico d'Orcia.
Even though you only need one day to take in Lucca's sights, don't assume there isn't much to see in this fascinating Tuscan city. Quite the opposite actually, it's just that the city's historic center is so compact that none of the best places to visit in Lucca are all that far apart.Which is nicer Siena or Lucca? ›
Lucca is quieter, smaller easier to get around and has a more small town feel. It does have some great medieval art, as Ruskin noted. Siena is also more central and a good base for visiting the sights of central Tuscany, like Chianti or San Gim. You pays your money and you takes your choice.Is Lucca Italy touristy? ›
Planning Your Visit
Lucca is infinitely more laid-back and less touristy than some other Tuscan cities, yet still very lively and cultured, making it a great alternative, especially in the peak summer season.
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Lucca and Livorno, we can see that Livorno is more expensive. And not only is Lucca much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Lucca would let you spend less money overall.Is Lucca walkable? ›
In fact, the walled city in Lucca is almost entirely a pedestrian zone. It is really easy and convenient to get around on foot. And a walking tour is also the best way to enjoy the most iconic spots the city has to offer and the atmosphere of this destination to the utmost.What is the best time of year to visit Lucca Italy? ›
An April - June visit is ideal, and there is little rain during that period. Lucca is quite pleasant in fall, even late fall when the chance of rain is increased, as the chestnut roasters come out and the city becomes pleasantly sparse of tourists.
How do you spend a day in Lucca? ›
- Visit the Cathedral of San Martino. San Martino Cathedral, Lucca- Credit: C. ...
- Explore the streets of the historic centre. Lucca from the Guinigi Tower- Credit: C. ...
- Have an aperitivo in piazza del Anfiteatro. ...
- Visit the Giacomo Puccini Museum. ...
- Walk hand in hand along the old walls.
Lucca is one of the larger cities in Tuscany and is often overlooked in favour of her more famous neighbours – Florence, Pisa and Siena. In fact, it is so close to these popular destinations that I consider it a perfect base for exploring Tuscany.Where is a good base in Tuscany? ›
Siena is a good base in Tuscany since it's situated in the center of the region. You can easily access the Chianti region, Pienza, Montalcino and Montepulciano, not to mention Arezzo and Cortona to the east and Umbria in the south-east.What is the most beautiful small town in Tuscany? ›
San Gimignano is one of the most famous small towns in Tuscany and one of the most beautiful.What is the most picturesque town in Italy? ›
- Manarola & Corniglia (Cinque Terre)
- Neive (Piedmont)
- Asolo (Veneto)
- Corinaldo (Marche)
- San Leo (Marche)
- Albori (Amalfi Coast)
- Macugnaga (Piedmont)
- SAN GIMIGNANO, TUSCANY.
- POSITANO, AMALFI COAST.
- ALBEROBELLO, PUGLIA.
- BELLAGIO, LAKE COMO.
- MANAROLA, CINQUE TERRE.
- CASTELMEZZANO, BASILICATA.
- CIVITA DI BAGNOREGIO, LAZIO.
- CEFALU, SICILY.
Experience this 2.7-mile loop trail near Lucca, Tuscany. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 59 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding, hiking, and mountain biking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.Can you do Pisa and Lucca in one day? ›
Pisa and Lucca are perfect for two days off from Florence discovering more about what Tuscany has to offer. They are very easy to reach and you can also combine them in one single day if you need to optimize time in your busy schedule.Do you need a car in Lucca? ›
Lucca is a town that is easily accessible by foot or by bike. In fact, it's common for locals to travel this way. There are also a series of small buses available to take you around the historic area easily.Should I stay in Lucca or San Gimignano? ›
San Gimignano is a tricky one to reach, unfortunately. Lucca is slightly easier, but I personally find Lucca better if you are in the mood for an escape from the heat and the "madding crowds," none of which you are lightly to encounter in December! Easiest of all to visit, of course, is Pisa!
What is the most luxurious place in Italy? ›
- Porto Ercole. ...
- Courmayeur. ...
- Cortina d'Ampezzo. ...
- Forte dei Marmi. ...
- Porto Rotondo. ...
- Gardone Riviera. ...
- Portofino. ...
- Lake Como.
Tuscany's best travel months (also its busiest and most expensive) are April, May, June, September, and October. These months combine the convenience of peak season with pleasant weather. June is especially festive in the area, with parades, dances, and games in Florence for the feast of St.What is the friendliest city in Italy? ›
Padua Italy, known as Padova in Italian, has to be one of the loveliest of all Italian cities.What should you not forget to go to Italy? ›
- Clothes that mix, match & layer well. ...
- Shoes made for walking. ...
- A good looking, comfortable day pack. ...
- A scarf or lightweight cover-up. ...
- Your finest clothes. ...
- Your proper camera. ...
- Adaptors, chargers & a portable charger. ...
- Sunglasses & sunscreen.
Many travelers, as well as Italians, consider Positano the gem of Italy's Amalfi Coast with its beaches and azure Mediterranean water, and rank it as one of the absolute best Italian seaside towns.
The historic city centre is small and is closed to traffic, so you can visit it on foot or by bicycle. For those coming by car, there are numerous car parks both outside the walls and along the wall path, connected to the historical centre by buses and shuttles.How many days do you need in Tuscany countryside? ›
How many days do you need in Tuscany. While you can see the main cities in 3-4 days, I recommend at least one week for Tuscany. This will allow you to see not just all the highlights of the best towns of Tuscany, but also to get a glimpse of the beautiful Tuscan countryside.Is driving around Tuscany easy? ›
Although the views in Tuscany are second-to-none in Europe, driving can be a little challenging. The country roads are narrow and winding, so take into consideration that short distances can take longer to drive than you might imagine. The speed limit on these roads is between 50 and 70km/h.How do you get around Tuscany without a car? ›
- Using the train, using Florence Pisa or Lucca as a bases.
- Using local buses, especially using Florence as a hub – best budget option.
- Hiring a private driver for ad-hoc transfers – highest budget option.
Where to stay in Tuscany if you dont have a car? ›
The best bases to move around in Tuscany without a car are definitely the central cities or located along the railway line between Florence-Pisa, Florence-Lucca, Florence-Arezzo or Florence-Siena that will make your travels easier and allow you to reach the most places in Tuscany.What month is the rainy season in Italy? ›
Between mid-September and mid-October, the temperatures are pleasantly warm, but it can rain, especially in the north and center of the country. November is typically a rainy month throughout Italy, even though the sun still shines quite often in the south.What is the hottest month to go to Italy? ›
Italy has a mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters. If you're a sunseeker the best time to visit Italy is between June and September. The hottest month of the year is July with an average daily maximum of 24 C and an average low of 17 C.What is the hottest month in Tuscany? ›
THE TUSCAN CLIMATE
Spring (April and May) and Autumn (October and November) are milder and rainier, but there are still plenty of dry, sunny days. Winter can still have some sunny days but is usually wetter and colder, especially at night. July and August are the hottest months.
Both parking and driving within the city walls of Lucca are severely limited. There are three types of parking spaces, denoted by the color of paint on the pavement: Blue spaces.What is a good daily budget for Italy? ›
On average you can expect a trip to Italy to cost €70-295 per person per day (around $74 to $310 USD).What celebrities live in Tuscany? ›
- STING. In 1997, Sting bought the Tenuta Il Palagio, a sixteenth-century estate nestling amongst the vineyards of the Chianti region. ...
- FRANCES MAYES. Frances Mayes is an American novelist. ...
- RACHAEL RAY. ...
- DEBI MAZAR. ...
- COLIN FIRTH and ED SHEERAN.
Instead of Italy, visit Healdsburg, California
With its undulating hills and abundance of vineyards and wineries, the Northern California town of Healdsburg looks strikingly similar to Tuscany.
If you wish to visit towns and villages beyond the most popular destinations of Florence, Pisa and Siena, then a car is almost a necessity. The Chianti hills, the Val d'Orcia, Maremma, Casentino and hilltop villages in these areas in Tuscany are almost impossible to visit depending solely on public transportation.Is Lucca or Florence better? ›
Both Lucca and Siena were a little more intimate and relaxed than Florence, especially at night, although Florence was fantastic. Either way try to visit all of these places as each is worth the effort. If you want to visit all three, then Florence is the best base because it has easy access to the other two.
What is the most central town to stay in Tuscany? ›
Chianti, best area to stay in Tuscany for wine and vineyards. Located within the center of Tuscany, Chianti isn't just a beautiful region of Italy.What is the best way to get around Tuscany? ›
The best way to get around Tuscany is either by bus or train. Trains easily connect the larger cities of northern Tuscany, including Florence, Pistoria, Lucca and Livorno.What is the main town in Tuscany? ›
Florence is the main and biggest city, right at the heart of Tuscany. A symbol of beauty and artistic excellence, it attracts visitors from all over the globe with its gorgeous Cathedral and famous Dome designed by Brunelleschi.Why is Tuscany so special? ›
Tuscany is known for its landscapes, history, artistic legacy, and its influence on high culture. It is regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and of the foundations of the Italian language.What is considered the most famous wine of Tuscany? ›
Tuscany is one of the most famous and prolific wine regions anywhere in Europe. It is best known for its Sangiovese-based dry red wines - which dominate output. These include Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.Which is better Siena or Lucca? ›
Lucca is quieter, smaller easier to get around and has a more small town feel. It does have some great medieval art, as Ruskin noted. Siena is also more central and a good base for visiting the sights of central Tuscany, like Chianti or San Gim. You pays your money and you takes your choice.Is Lucca better than Pisa? ›
Lucca is the better city, even though the Campo dei Miracoli in Pisa is one one of the seven wonders of the world!What is the prettiest area in Italy? ›
1. Florence or Firenze in Tuscany. Always at the top of the most beautiful places in Italy list, Florence has it all, from world famous museums to glorious architecture. It's the city for the Duomo, Piazza della Signoria and Ponte Vecchio and also home to celebrated museums, historic markets and magnificent gardens.Do I need a car in Lucca Italy? ›
Lucca is a town that is easily accessible by foot or by bike. In fact, it's common for locals to travel this way. There are also a series of small buses available to take you around the historic area easily.