Lucca is a small city in Tuscany, very near Pisa, completely surrounded by ramparts. We stopped in Lucca for two nights on our way from Turin to Rome last fall. We were traveling by train, so we stayed in a hotel near the station that was also convenient to one of the main gates of the town, Porta San Pietro.
We walked into town on our first evening to absorb some of the local ambiance.
Piazza San Michele
Chiesa Di San Frediano is decorated with a 13th century mosaic.
We explored more of town the next morning. Lucca began as a Roman colony in 180 BC. The wall surrounding the city, called the mura, was begun in 1500 and finished in 1645. It remains in almost perfect condition. It is 12 meters high and 4.2 km long with a path running along the top. It’s an easy walk and gave us a great way to view the city.
Lucca hosts Europe’s largest annual Comics and Games festival every fall. There were tents being set up for venues all over town. Lucky for us, it was starting after we left. Can’t imagine what it’s like with thousands of gamers here!
My favorite site in Lucca was Palazzo Pfanner. Easily seen from the wall, we took a break from our walk for a visit.
The baroque, formal garden was laid out in the 18th century. They hold chamber music concerts here in the summer.
The palazzo was begun in 1660 by the Moriconi family. They went bankrupt and had to sell it to the Controni family, who were silk merchants. They extended the building in 1686, adding the grand outdoor staircase.
In 1846 Felix Pfanner established his brewery here and acquired the palazzo. The brewery closed in 1929, but the property is still owned by the Pfanner family.
The frescoes are from the early 18th century.
We joined an organized walking tour of Lucca in the afternoon.
Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca in 1858.
San Michele in Foro was built between the 11th and 14th centuries. It has tiers of carved columns, all different. Archangel Michele, slaying the dragon at the top, has wings on hinges that the priests could move back and forth to “Wow” the crowds.
Torre Guinigi is topped with a small garden that is planted with oak trees!
This bit of wall is original to the Roman Amphitheater. Inside the amphitheater is now Piazza del Mercato, filled with shops and restaurants.
Porta Santa Maria dei Borghi is on the north side of Lucca. It was built between 1198 and 1265. This gate is the oldest part of the wall.
Luigi Boccherini was born in Lucca in 1743. His statue is in front of The Institute of Musical Studies Luigi Boccherini, one of the oldest music schools in Italy.
The Cathedral of San Martino, built in the 11th century, was designed around the pre-existing campanile.
The carvings are from the 13th century
Chiesa dei Santi Giovanni – it’s dome and tower can be seen better from the side of the building.
We ended our day in Lucca with a Spritz, a mixture of prosecco and aperol, and snacks on the Piazza San Michele.
We thoroughly enjoyed our day in Lucca!