Tuscany areas:Florence Siena Lucca Chianti San Gimignano Arezzo Pisa Versilia Cortona Montecatini Garfagnana
Accommodation listings, plus useful information, tips and some history:
Lucca is the most wonderful small town; its famous walls enclose a place that can be wandered or pedalled with ease yet remains full of secrets. One of Italy's finest mediaeval treasures, the centre is relatively unspoilt and is sprinkled with palazzi, towers and almost countless splendid churches. The surrounding hills produce some excellent wines and arguably the finest olive oil anywhere, whilst the beaches and nightlife are but a small hop away.
The historical centre of Lucca lies within a unique wall system. These walls, built of small red bricks specifically created for their construction, were many years in the making (16th to 17th century). They were built as a defence against the 'old enemy', Florence, but were never in fact put to the test in war. However they have remained intact. Their bulk alone would have protected them from wilful destruction. But they also have the love of the inhabitants of Lucca.
knowital.com' tips when visting Lucca:
In common with many Italian towns, most of Lucca's shops will remain closed between lunchtime and around four o clock. Wednesday is a common closing day and many places in to wn may well also be closed on Monday mornings.
It is possible to park in the centre of town, but many areas are closed to non-resident traffic and you may have a long wait for a parking space. Why not park in one of the free ‘edge of town' car parks on Lucca's north side and take one of the small electric buses into town? You'll find two large car parks on Via delle Tagliate (near the sports stadium) and Via del Cimitero (near the cemetery); there is also one further round the 'ring road' towards the railway station. Bus tickets (for the navetta) may be bought at most bars or on the bus itself.
On the third Sunday (and preceding Saturday) of each month there is a large antiques market centred around Piazza Antelminelli and Piazza San Giusto. On the last Sunday (and preceding Saturday) of the month there is an arts and crafts market in the same area. Lucca's ‘ordinary' market is held along Via dei Bacchettoni every Wednesday and Saturday morning.
One of the best ways to see Lucca is to hire a bicycle for a few hours. All the locals use bikes to get around and there is so much to see that you'll likely find yourselves tired from walking everywhere. There are a couple of hire shops in Piazza Santa Maria on the north side of the town, and another can be found tucked behind the Roman amphitheatre.
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