Some tips for visiting the medieval city of Lucca

Some tips for visiting the medieval city of Lucca

Landscape of Lucca city center

Medieval Lucca

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We walk towards the historic walls, an inseparable element of the city that make it unique and known throughout the world. They are the only ones, in fact, to be completely passable both on foot and by car, although today it is forbidden to drive by car. Four kilometers of panoramic walk with a view over the city of Lucca, over the most hidden corners and the pearls that these walls enclose within themselves, in the shade of secular trees which allow us to glimpse, here and there, playgrounds for children and recreational areas equipped for relaxing picnics. Secret passages, hiding places and ramparts enclose the historical memory of a city that really has so much to tell, as well as marvelous corners of paradise such as the Botanical Garden, a sort of public garden which, in addition to the floristic heritage of the park of the walls of Lucca , houses a library, herbariums, laboratory museums and much more.

Crossing the walls, you enter the heart of the city, of what is commonly called the city of 100 churches due to the large number of religious buildings present, beautiful artistic and architectural examples which, however, are difficult to visit in a single day. Therefore, I advise you to concentrate on the Duomo (the Cathedral of San Martino in the square of the same name, which can be reached by going beyond the walls on the side of the railway station), where some splendid works of art are kept, such as the funeral monument to Ilaria del Carretto by Jacopo della Quercia and the Wooden Crucifix of the Holy Face – ancient symbol of the city – on the Basilica of San Frediano – from where the procession of the Feast of the Holy Cross starts – and on the Church of San Michele, also located in the homonymous square in the middle of the historic center. Here you also cross the most famous street in Lucca, the one where all the most important and well-known shops are located, the so-called Fillungo (this is a mandatory stop if you are in the mood for shopping!).

From Fillungo you can get almost everywhere in the historic center, especially if the weather is good, a nice walk will let you discover the prettiest points of the city and those stops that you absolutely cannot miss, such as the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro. An authentic jewel of Lucca with a Roman layout (in fact, the old forum once stood here, and it is precisely on the original elliptical structure typical of Roman amphitheaters that the current square and the buildings that surround it were built, maintaining their shape and structure), characteristic restaurants and small shops with an authentic Lucca flavor overlook it, and events, shows and concerts take place here, especially in the summer.

Leaving the Amphitheater, you can go and see the famous Guinigi Tower, not far away, the one with the tree on top. Although it towers above the buildings in the centre, it is not always possible to orient oneself by taking it as a point of reference, given that the narrow and narrow streets, enclosed between historic buildings that still house ancient shops of traditional arts and crafts, do not always allow to broaden the views. If you don't have enough time, you can avoid climbing to the top, although the roof garden is a curious and popular attraction (wanted by the Guinigi family as a symbol of the city's rebirth under their control).

A trip to Piazza Napoleone, known as Piazza Grande, before leaving the walls can really be worthwhile, especially during the Christmas period here an ice skating rink is set up for the entertainment of young and old! Considered a point of reference by the inhabitants of Lucca, it was named after it was subjected to modernization works by Elisa Bonaparte to pay homage to her brother Napoleon.

Visit medioeval Lucca

“Four kilometers of panoramic walk with a view of the city of Lucca, the most hidden corners and the pearls that these walls enclose”