Lucca isn't the most popular destination in Italy, but that's part of what makes it so charming. If you day trip to Lucca from Florence or stay here overnight, you’ll find a slower pace of living, inviting shops, delightful little restaurants. In the city's historic area, where car traffic is non-existent, the narrow streets and medieval architecture give you the sense that little has changed through the ages.
What’s more, if you happen to arrive in Lucca during the lunch hours, you’ll find the town deserted. The riposo, the Italian version of the siesta, has not yet been lost, despite the influx of tourists that have begun to travel here. After the lunch hours, things begin to perk up. Street vendors seem to appear out of nowhere and the shops open their doors. The town of Lucca is lined with vendors from jewelry stores and cioccolaterie (chocolate stores) to wine shops.
Walking on the Walls
If shopping is not the focus of your visit, you may enjoy a passeggiata, or stroll along the 39-foot tall, 17th-century stone wall that encirlces the town of Lucca. The wall was originally constructed to protect the town from attacks. It later saved Lucca in 1812 from a flood of the Serchio River. Now the wall serves as a public park, complete with trees and perfect for easy walks and bike rides.
The Birthplace of Puccini
Music lovers will note that Lucca is the birthplace of Puccini. Visitors can tour his childhood home, now the Giacomo Puccini House Museum. The museum houses precious objects that once belonged to Puccini: the pianoforte on which he composed Turandot, sketches, works, letters and photographs. The museum is closed in January and February and on Mondays during the spring and fall.
Additionally, nearby Torre del Lago hosts the Puccini Festival every summer, featuring productions of Puccini operas such as Madama Butterfly and Tosca in an outdoor theater.
Getting to Lucca by Train
Lucca is an hour and a half hour train ride from Florence. The train stops near one of the wall’s entrances. From there, you can walk to the town center.