Lucca is definitely one of my favorite cities - it is the essence of
Tuscany - extremely elegant and proud of its history and traditions. It is a place
rich in culture, with a strong identity (sometimes even a bit snobbish).
It is 2 hours and 30 minutes from Cortona by car or just over 3 hours by train with a change in Florence.
Within walking distance of the town one can find some wonderfull villas,
built and owned by important families and with spectacular gardens - some are
open to the public (Villa Torrigiani and Villa Reale).
The historic centre, with its intertwining streets, piazzas, the warm
colors of the facades, the fountains, the music... (Giacomo Puccini was born in
Lucca), relax you and make you feel at home.
The defensive walls which surround the historic center are perfectly
maintained and make a complete circle of about 6 km in length. Walking around
the wall, you can admire the city from many perspectives, see the interiors of
unique buildings, such as Palazzo Pfanner, where one of Italy's most famous
Italian films was set, " Il Marchese del Grillo", starring Alberto
Lucca is also a city of towers: "Torre delle Ore" and
"the Guinigi Tower" are beautiful, at the top of which you can go,
after a good number of steps, to admire the city and be able to take unrivaled
If you think you might like to visit Lucca, here are some suggestions as to what to do:
Lucca has a special relationship with music and holds an annual Summer music Festival. In the past, it has held concerts for the likes of the Eagles, Tracy Chapman, Sting, Elton John, Neil Young, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen in addition to the greatest of Italian artists. You might want to look up - in advance of any trip to the area - what is planned for the following season.
On the third calendar Sunday of each month (but starting on the Saturday) there is an Antiques/flea market to be enjoyed. If you go early in the morning it's possible to find some good deals, but strolling through the stands and browsing is a great way to pass a few hours.
I suggest you eat in
Piazza Cittadella, with a background of classical/opera music from the
Puccini museum, and to walk in Piazza del Suffragio, where the music school is
located and from whose windows the music spreads out. (In front of the school
door there are some romantic benches where you can rest ... lulled by music,
The two main shopping streets can be found at the Piazza Anfiteatro, via
Fillungo and via Santa Lucia.
Lucca Comics - this year scheduled to begin on October 28th until November 1st - is an enormous event for lovers of cartoon characters,
animation and science fiction (I remember when I was in Lucca, coincidentally,
with the Lucca comic event and I remember having had great difficulties finding
a parking space ... enquire before going !!!)