Take a Look at Lucca
Posted by Dympna Docherty (28/08/2015)
Lucca often gets overlooked by visitors to Tuscany, but the small city tucked away in the north of the region has a lot to offer, especially for those looking for somewhere a little less touristy to stay.
Why choose Lucca?Located about 12 miles North East of Pisa, the city dates back to Roman times, a legacy which can still be seen it the grid layout of its streets. The remains of the ancient Roman amphitheatre can still be seen in the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro which sits at the heart of the city and occupies the same space where the amphitheatre once stood.
Lucca can easily be reached from Florence and Pisa by public transport, making it highly accessible even if you don’t have a car and is only a half hour drive from the coast, including the famous beaches of Versilia. The city is also famous as the birthplace of legendary Italian composer Giacomo Puccini and there is a festival held in his honour every year in nearby Torre del Lago.
Things to seeLike many Tuscan cities, Lucca underwent a massive transformation during the Renaissance. One of the most prominent and unusual reminders of this period are the city walls which once protected the city. Unlike other cities in the region, Lucca’s walls were never demolished and are still completely intact, separating the old town from the more modern parts of the city. The walls now form a tree-lined promenade around the old town which provide a fantastic way to see the city.
Besides its walls, Lucca is stuffed full of historic architecture. The Torre Guinigi is a 130ft tower with a hanging garden at the top featuring an ancient oak tree. Tourists can climb the tower, providing the perfect vantage point. One of the most impressive buildings in Lucca is the Ducal Palace. Dating from the 14th century, the palace was destroyed by the people of Lucca in 1370 before being rebuilt by Paolo Guinigi in 1401 before being restored again in 1578 by architect and sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati. Duomo di San Martino a.k.a. (St Martin's Cathedral) is the seat of the archbishop of Lucca, the oldest parts of which date back to 1063. It is famous for the Holy Face of Lucca, a wooden crucifix and image of Jesus Christ supposedly carved by Nicodemus who lived at the same time as Jesus and the labyrinth embedded in cathedral’s portico.