Nestled deep in the heart of Central Italy in the throngs of tantalising Tuscany, Lucca is a beautiful historical city deeply connected with its past. The Renaissance-era city walls that enclose this quaint slice of Italy were designed by Leonardo Da Vinci and are perhaps what best exemplifies this beautiful destination—and did you know that Lucca used to be ruled by Napoleon’s sister, Elisa Bonaparte? The historical connections you’ll find in this area will make for a truly remarkable 2019 / 2020 holiday.
Should you be looking for some modern excitement to accompany your sightseeing, you won’t be disappointed. Lucca is home of several famous festivals throughout the year, including Lucca Comics and Games (one of the largest International festivals of comics, animation, illustration, and games in Europe), Lucca Summer Festival, boasting popular music acts, and the Puccini festival, dedicated to the famous composer. Additionally, there is the Medieval festival, bringing the past to life for you in modern day Lucca—and these are only a few!
The nearby Viareggio offers not only beautiful beaches where you can relax and unwind under the Italian sun, but also one of the most famous Carnivals in the world; time your stay accordingly if you are up for gigantic animated parade floats, coloured all-night dances, grandiose scenographic effects, upbeat music, colourful costumes, and an all-round fun experience!
Alongside the copious amount of wonderful sights, you can take in and events you can attend, Lucca is also famed for its decadent cuisine; and it wouldn’t be a trip to Italy without sampling as much of it as humanly possible.
Whatever your tastes and interests, Lucca holidays will have something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a fantastic time exploring the local history under beautiful sunshine, or are looking for new, exciting experiences and festivals on the backdrop of Tuscany landscapes, Lucca has you covered.
Walking around and on top of the ancient city walls should be first on your list, as this is, without any doubt, the best way to get a real taste of this idyllic city and to come up with your own personal list of locations you’d love to see.
On your circling route of Lucca, you’ll probably notice Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, Duomo di San Martino, Torre Guinigi, Piazza Napoleone. Who knows what else will catch your eye and call to you? With its wealth of history and its ruins from Risorgimento to the Napoleonic era to the Middle Ages, all the way back to the Roman era, you’ll find that every corner of Lucca you lay your eyes on has witnessed kingdoms and dominions and has the potential to enchant you.
If you’re looking to enjoy some late 2018 holidays and are interested in mingling with an enthusiastic crowd, then mark your calendar, because every year, around October and November, Lucca is home to Lucca Comics and Games, one of the largest International festivals of comics, animation, illustration, and games in Europe!
If you decide to visit Lucca during this time, you’ll find the city invaded by scores of excited fans dressed like their favourite characters, not to mention the abundance of international guests. The festival, which was founded in 1965, has grown exponentially throughout the years, registering in 2014 an amount of 240,000 attendees – an unmissable experience for your holidays to Lucca.
With its many bars and restaurants providing alluring entertainment long into the night, you won’t go wrong in choosing Lucca as your destination for your 2018 holidays.
As if that wasn’t enough, Lucca is also famous for its Lucca Summer Festival, a music fest which takes place annually in Piazza Napoleone and which is famous for its incredible lineups of rock legends and music icons. Some of the guests who played here during the last two decades include David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Elton John, Joe Cocker, B.B. King and Amy Winehouse to name only a few.
Excited yet? Go and take a look at the 2018 lineup. It includes Rolling Stones, Green Day, Imagine Dragons, Kasabian, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. You’re sure to find something you’d love to see!
A romantic setting due to its incredible historical sites and its city walls (from whose top you can enjoy an astounding view of the city), Lucca is also home of a marvellous botanical garden established in 1820, which comprises a splendid pond completely full of lilies. Don’t skip climbing the almost 200 stairs to the top of the Guinigi Tower: you’ll reach a wonderful hanging garden featuring seven holm oaks planted 44 metres above ground, while the city stretches beneath you. Time it with a blazing sunset and you’ll have a truly unforgettable experience for you and your partner!
If you are up for a trip in the surrounding area, consider reaching Viareggio, which offers beautiful beaches where you and your partner can relax and unwind; and if you’re looking for something truly out of the ordinary consider taking a trip to the nearby Lake Vagli, home to incredible landscapes and an abundance of stunning blue herons.
Lucca is situated in northern Tuscany, about 20 km from Pisa, and you’ll find that it has culture everywhere. Whatever your interests, this city has something that will make your 2018 holidays unique.
In addition to the countless historic sites and the astounding mix of terracotta roofs, Roman ruins, and Renaissance architecture that will surround you during your stay, you can also add to your list the plethora of cultural events happening around Lucca regularly, among which the regular Puccini festival in the second half of August, and the Medieval Festival in September—which literally brings the past back to life and is an unmissable experience for any history enthusiast.
Italy is synonymous with fine dining and Lucca is no different. Enclosed by its medieval, walkable walls, the city has a plethora of dining options, including bespoke bistros, cosy cafes, and magnificent restaurants—more than enough variety to cater to every taste.
Experience the atmospheric ambiance of Ristorante Gatta Ci Cova as you try a number of beautifully presented dishes ranging from local seafood to freshly made pasta—while moreish macaroons await you on the dessert cart! Taste the legendary gastronomy of the incredible Buca di Sant’Antonio; or opt for the delicious, central, and definitely affordable, Da Leo, which, with its hearty portions and authentic local dishes, is one of the favourite of locals and tourists alike.
Lucca is also renowned for its bakeries and patisseries. Don’t miss Pasticceria Taddeucci, located in Lucca's main piazza and often featured on publications such as The New York Times for being home of the famous buccellato, a sweet, spiced bread invented by Jacopo Taddeucci in 1881.
No trip to Italy would be complete without a tasting course of the local pizza, and Lucca has a multitude of independent pizzerias to choose from. After you’ve eaten your body weight in food, why not to try the rich and aromatic Tuscan wines that this region offers?
When in doubt, remember to ask for advice on the menus, or observe where the locals are going and what they’re ordering: you can be sure that’s the best way to enjoy the most delicious food around.
Enjoy the beauty of Tuscan landscapes with your family. Go on trips in the neighbouring area to visit the historical city centre of some hidden little borgos, and drive across the coast to enjoy fresh seafood and swim in the sea.
Are you travelling with young kids? Consider timing your trip with the annual Lucca Comics and Games festival in round October and November. There’s something particularly exciting for a young traveller in experiencing the natural charm of a city as gorgeous as Lucca enhanced to fairytale proportions by the presence of comic and movie characters roaming the streets—all enclosed within the ancient city walls.
Action & Adventure
If adventure calls you, why not visit the green Garfagnana Valley, located north of Lucca, a paradise for trekkers? You can also visit Parco Avventura Selva del Buffardello, an adventure park set in the forest, where you can enjoy nature and go trekking, cycling, or try zip wires! The park includes swinging beams, suspension bridges, nets, ropes, and obstacles, providing adventure and fun for every age. The nearby Lake Vagli is also fantastic for kayaking surrounded by incredible birdlife.