Tuscany: Visit Lucca that is a little town rich in art and culture and well-known as the jewel of Tuscany
Lucca is one of the few towns which has maintained its town walls intact. These walls surround the historic centre with its many churches, towers, palaces, museums, traditional boutiques and characteristic lanes. It is forbidden to drive by car on the wall, therefore it is really a beautiful and fantastic stroll. From the walls you have magnificent views onto the architectural beauties of the town and the rolling surrounding hills.
Lucca still seems today like a labyrinth of squares and lanes which get narrower and more concealed the closer one gets to the heart of the centre. Visitors to Lucca not only admire the historic beauties of the town but can also indulge their palates in the mouth-watering local specialities. One can go shopping in the Via Fillungo (the most famous shopping mile of the centre) where boutiques, antique shops, coffee bars and “trattorias” characterize the townscape.
Very near to the Fillungo is the place drama lovers went to the theatre during the period of the Romans. Centuries later houses were built on the foundations of this imperial theatre and so the oval shaped “Piazza del Anfiteatro” was born. This square is one of the most picturesque in the whole of Italy and one of the most well- known in the whole world. It is a “must” for every tourist because you can still see the remains of the original town wall.
Lucca is rich in history and famous for its numerous churches which has given it its nick- name “the town of the 100 churches”. Among all the marble treasures which Lucca offers its visitors is the Cathedral of San Martino, situated in the very heart of the centre and it is certainly the most famous. The cathedral was built in the 15th century and houses various important works of art such as the “frescos” of Nicola Pisano, the Lord’s Supper of Tintoretto and the altar-painting of Del Ghirlandaio. The most important is of course the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto who passed away at the age of 29, the wife of Mr. Paolo Guinigi (see Guinigi tower and palazzo Guinigi) situated in the sacristy of the cathedral and it was sculpted by Jacopo della Quercia.
The surrounding areas of Lucca offer tourists a wide spectrum of possibilities on how to spend a holiday: beautiful strolls on the nearby hills, visits to the art towns of Tuscany, tasting of typical local products such as olive oil and wine, cultural and musical events, festivals in villages and craft fairs which take place throughout the year There is a stunning landscape only a few kilometres from Lucca in the direction of the Garfagnana which boasts beautiful scenery of mountains, rolling hills, cultivated land and thick forests. While driving through the middle part of the Serchio Valley you will discover the hills of the “Brancoleria” with its scattered antique Romanesque churches.
Many characteristic villages such as Pieve a Elici, Gualdo and Montigiano are situated in the municipality of Massarosa, which lies in the North of Tuscany – on the hills between Lucca and the sea. You can take in the amazing views from these villages.
The beautiful sea- side is only 20 minutes by car from Lucca. The little town of Viareggio was founded in the year 1200 as a fishing village and today it is considered to be the pearl of the Versilia with its long established bathing beaches, the famous promenade which runs alongside the sea alternating modern shops with liberty style villas, bars and boutiques.