Itinerary for a one-day visit to Lucca: here is everything you need to know if you only have 24 hours to explore the city of 100 churches.
Plan your trip to Tuscany and discover the beautiful town of Lucca with its treasures: from the Walls to the Towers, and not forgetting the great cuisine. Lucca has an ancient past and today remains a lively cultural center full of important events such as the Lucca Comics & Games and the Summer Festival. Famous for its 16th-century city walls and many precious monuments that testify to its rich medieval past. Do not miss our guide to the most beautiful villages in Tuscany.
Here’s what to see and do in Lucca:
- The 16-century city walls
- St. Martin´s Cathedral
- Piazza dell ‘Anfiteatro
- Tower of the Hours
- Maddalena Bridge – Devil’s Bridge
- What to eat in Lucca
- The events of the Lucca tradition
- To Lucca with Italo
1. The 16-century city walls
Start this one-day tour of Lucca from its 16th-century city walls, which are one of the symbols of the Tuscan city and an artistic masterpiece of European urban planning. They were built between the 16th and 17th centuries and extend for four and a half kilometers. Admire the eleven ramparts, the three gates and the spectacular urban park where you can safely take a walk among the centuries-old trees.
2. St. Martin´s Cathedral
Cross the 16th-century walls on the side of the train station and enter the heart of Lucca, commonly called the city of 100 churches, because of its large number of religious buildings. Focus on the Cathedral, built in the Romanesque style in the 6th century, with its imposing and splendid asymmetric facade and its square. Visit St. Martin’s Cathedral and admire the splendid works of art such as the statue of St. Martin and the Pauper, Tintoretto’s Last Supper, the funeral monument to Ilaria del Carretto by Jacopo della Quercia, and the Wooden Crucifix of the Holy Face, the ancient symbol of the city.
3. Piazza dell’Anfiteatro
Head for the Piazza dell ‘Anfiteatro, which is the center of the city of Lucca and one of its symbols. Marvel at the imposing closed elliptical shape of the square derived from an amphitheater built by the Romans. You should know that the square was developed like this also thanks to the architect Lorenzo Nottolini, who, in the 19th century, dismantled some internal buildings and built this urban masterpiece. The square has always been a meeting place and reference point for city and political life in Lucca, and in the Middle Ages it was renamed Parlascio, from the verb to speak.
4. Tower of the Hours
Another symbol of Lucca that you absolutely must see is the Tower of the Hours, built in 1390. It is the highest tower in Lucca, and you can only reach it after climbing the famous 207 steps of the original wooden staircase, which is still in excellent condition. Admire the clock made in 1754 by Lucca watchmakers and its manual mechanism, still working, which is one of the most important in the world.
5. Maddalena Bridge – Devil’s Bridge
The Magdalene Bridge, also known as the Devil’s Bridge, is one of the most original constructions in all of Tuscany and can be found in Borgo a Mozzano, between Lucca and Garfagnana. Many legends are linked to this bridge because it is a place full of mystery. On the Serchio River, not far from Lucca, you can admire the charm of this bridge with one arch out of proportion to the others. Legend narrates that the chief mason who was entrusted with the work, in order to deliver it on time and finish it in a single night, sold the soul of the first individual to cross the bridge to the devil. But the remorseful builder confessed the whole thing to a local cleric and managed to find a solution by having a pig cross the bridge. Outwitted and defeated, the Devil disappeared into the depths of the river.
6. What to eat in Lucca
Food you absolutely must try in Lucca is the Minestra di farro alla lucchese, Tordello Lucchese, a type of stuffed egg pasta with a crescent or circular toothed shape, to be enjoyed with meat sauce or with a simple tomato and basil sauce or with butter and sage. Other specialties include Pecorino cheese from the Serchio Valley and Garfagnana, cured meats, sliced meats, and cold cuts . Don’t miss the Necci, such as crepes made with chestnut flour and stuffed with ricotta cheese, potato bread, Buccellato, a sweet bread enriched with eggs, anise seeds, and raisins, and Torta co’ becchi made with chocolate, pears or blackberries or the one “cogli erbi” that is, with chard or wild herbs.
If you visit this land, there are many delights of the palate to taste! You will enjoy a truly amazing and extraordinary gastronomic experience, but at the same time, you will also make an unexpected discovery.
7. The events of the Lucca tradition
In Lucca, you can take part in numerous events and initiatives every year, from the Summer Festival to Lucca Comics&Games, to name the most important ones, and spend days full of fun and merriment.
In July, the Summer Festivalis held, a series of musical concerts with internationally renowned artists, in various places in the city. Late October and early November is the time for the Lucca Comics&Games, Italy’s most important international comics festival, with fairs and market exhibitions of a wide variety of comics and more. Throughout the city, you can enjoy a really fun cartoon-like experience, where fictional characters come to life thanks to the many fans who dress up for a truly unique show.
8. To Lucca with Italo
Discover Lucca and enjoy a unique travel experience thanks to Italo’s new connections with regional buses and trains. Discover itineraries and connections to Lucca; buy your ticket on Italotreno now.