Lucca, a historical city in Tuscany, is located on the western coast of Italy and it lies close to Pisa.
Just like Italy, Lucca is also a city with a history of domination by invaders and rulers. But despite all the challenges, Lucca has emerged to grow and become this stronger magnificent city.
The city was founded by Etruscans but in around 180 BC, it become a Roman colony. During that period, Lucca was used as a vital meeting place for Crassus and Julius Caesar. Later on, as part of feudal Italy, Lucca became an independent republic for almost 500 years. Lucca was conquered by Napoleon in the 19th century and in 1860, it became part of unified Italy with close ties to Pisa.
Today, Lucca is a great tourist destination welcoming thousands of tourists each year. The city is popular for its large number of religious structures and this has earned it the name, ‘the city of a hundred churches’. There are also the city’s fantastic medieval walls still encircling this old town which makes it stand out throughout Italy.
Lucca is an all-round city with something special to offer every kind of traveller out there. For historical lovers, Lucca has it all from museums, churches to many other medieval constructs. Aside from the historical section, Lucca has many incredible attractions such as gorgeous museums, serene public squares, and classy restaurants to ensure hunger pangs are not part of your experience when touring this part of the world.
Further, here are some of the most exciting things to do in Lucca.
Visit Lucca Cathedral
Lucca Cathedral is a truly impressive religious building located in the Piazza San Martino. Its fascinating façade and design make it a renounced structure in entire Italy. The front doors are framed by an ornate portico while the front façade contains a series of opulent archways.
The building was initially constructed in the 11th century but was later re-designed to its current form in the 14th century, at the time of the Renaissance. When you get inside the building, the artwork will amaze you. There is even one that features the sublime shrine of the Sacred Face of Lucca.
Another impressive feature worth your time should you visit the Lucca Cathedral is the immense bell tower which is adjacent to the church. Though half finished up to date with the other part remaining with exposed bricks, the bell tower is still a great tourist attraction.
A stroll at the historical city walls
The old center of Lucca is nicely surrounded by historical city walls. It was constructed during the Renaissance and it still stands up strong. It is also among the left few complete and well-preserved fortifications in the whole of Italy. In fact, you will be privileged to pass through a series of perfectly maintained city promenades throughout the entire city. Why then, should you not take your precious time to come and witness such a historical feature? Take a walk along the footpath as you admire the old city walls. The views will mesmerize you. Also, do the opposite. Walk down to the lower levels to view the walls from the ground. This view will also enable you to the stunning craftsmanship of the bastions.
Explore the Guinigi towers
In the middle ages, Lucca was already filled with towers as many as 250 by the beginning of the 14th century. However, amongst all those towers, only two are remaining one of them being the Guinigi towers. This tower was built in the 14th century by the powerful Guinigi family. With a height of 44 meters and more than 200 steps needed to reach its summit, this is indeed an epic tower. And, there is a tree-lined garden which sits on the top of this tower. Be guaranteed an exceptional view if you make it to the top of the tower. Otherwise, even viewing this tower from the ground is worth creating great memorable moments.
Tour San Michele in Foro
San Michele in Foro is usually mistaken for Lucca’s cathedral. This could be due to its magical façade rising in tiers like a flamboyant wedding cake or its placement in a broad piazza in the center of the city.
This church was built between the 12th to 14th centuries and its architectural features still stand out uniquely. It’s inlaid marble and the overall interior design is breathtaking. It’s worth your perusal and taking some snaps for future reference.
Torre Delle Ore
At 50 meters high, the Torre Delle Ore is among the tallest towers still standing in Italy. In addition to enabling tourists to view Lucca from the highest point in the entire city, there is a lot you can learn from this tower.
The tower was contracted in the 14th century as a private tower for protection. During its 700 year history, the Torre Delle Ore served as a clock tower as well as a defensive fortification. As time went by and the urge for protection subsided, it was transformed into a horological clock tower.
Today, you can explore the building and climb the well-preserved original wooden stairs to reach the top for a breathtaking view of the city as well as the views of the surrounding hills and Tuscan’s countryside mountains. Even though this may seem like lots of fun, this is a task the elderly, sick or physically unfit travellers may be unable to take part in.
Be sure to observe the old clock mechanism. Also, try to be here when the bells chime. It’s fun to see the wheels and gears turn as they move noisily to regulate the striking of the bells. However, ensure you stand at a safe distance when they strike the bells because the noise can irritate your eardrums.
Visit the museum of Villa Mansi
The national museum of palazzo Mansi is located at the heart of Lucca city. It is accessible by both private and public means. You can even walk to the museum if you are within the city center. It’s a perfect place to spend the day when you want to have some fun within the town.
The name Mansi is derived from the Mansi family which owned it back in 1660. At the end of the 17th century, the Mansi family set it up according to the baroque taste which was in contrast to the style of exterior facades of the palace.
In 1965, the Mansi palace ownership changed and it became a state’s property. It is now the state which took the initiative to renovate and transform it into the gorgeous museum it is now. Today, it is a valuable museum where you can visit and admire its beauty.
Travel to Lucca
There you have enough activities and adventures to add to your itinerary when you travel to Lucca.