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Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Lucca is one of the most beautiful cities in Tuscany, Italy. It is located only about 20 km north of Pisa and about 75 km west of Florence. In our opinion, Lucca is a hidden gem of Tuscany living a bit in the shadow of its sister, the famous Pisa. Lucca has a very large old town with many interesting palaces, places and monuments, and in fact Pisa can be most proud only of its Square of Miracles and the Leaning Tower. Being in Pisa, be sure to visit Lucca! You won't regret it!

Parking in Lucca

We leave the car in the large parking lot "Park Carducci Lucca" located near the entrance to the old town (P; GPS: 43.838819, 10.497375). You have to walk about 650 m to the gate of Porta San Pietro (A; GPS: 43.838860, 10.502988) that is the entrance point to the old town. You can also try to park just at this gate, but please take into account that this parking lot is quite small.

Cattedrale di San Martino

After passing through the Porta San Pietro we head to Piazza San Martino square (B; GPS: 43.8408261, 10.5050458), to the famous cathedral dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours (Cattedrale di San Martino) built between 11th and 14th century. Both its exterior and interior, rich in works of art, look extremely interesting. Take some time to walk peacefully and without hurry among the naves of the church.

Piazza Napoleone

Then we go the Via Duomo street towards Piazza Napoleone square (C; GPS: 43.8411861, 10.5024281) founded in the beginning of the 19th century. A monument to Napoleon was planned to be erected in the center of the square, but after 1815 the political situation in Europe changed, and therefore in 1843 a monument to Maria Luisa (who reigned in this city from 1815 to 1824) from the Spanish Bourbon family was erected there. There is also located the Palazzo Ducale, also called "Palazzo Pubblico" (D; GPS: 43.8414608, 10.5016825). It is currently the seat of the prefecture and authority of the province of Lucca. In the upper right corner of the square (E; GPS: 43.8417083, 10.5031953) you can find the monument "Ai Caduti per la Patria" ("for those killed for their homeland"). It looks like a pyramid built of boulders, on the top of which there is a statue with a laurel wreath.

Piazza San Michele

After visiting Napoleon Square, we head towards the next nearby square, namely Piazza San Michele. On this vast square there is a beautiful church of St. Archangel Michael (San Michele in Foro) from the 11th century (F; GPS: 43.8431631, 10.5027178). On the south side of the square you can find the Palazzo Pretorio building, with a monument to Matteo Civitali, a sculptor from Lucca and an architect with technical skills (G; GPS: 43.8426003, 10.5023611). Opposite the church of San Michele in Foro, there is the entrance to Via di Poggio street, that leads to the nearby small square Piazza Cittadella (H; GPS: 43.8430219, 10.5013097). In one of surrounding buildings the famous composer Giacomo Puccini was born.

Giacomo Puccini from Lucca

Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca on December 22, 1858. He is one of the greatest composers who ever lived. There is a museum dedicated to him (I; GPS: 43.8433256, 10.5015375) at Piazza Citadella, in the house where he was born. You can find a monument dedicated to him on the square itself.

Via Fillungo

We enter the most famous shopping street of the old town of Lucca - Via Fullungo (J; GPS: 43.8434919, 10.5040939). You just have to walk this street. It connects the very center with interesting Piazza dell'Anfiteatro. The street has a lot of cafes and restaurants, as well as boutiques and shops of well-known global companies. There are always a lot of people walking on this street. If you want to make there a shopping, remember that as usual in southern countries, all shops are closed around 13-15 hours.

Piazza dell'Anfiteatro

Like virtually every old town in Italy, also Lucca has traces of the Romans' presence. One of them is Piazza dell'Anfiteatro square (K; GPS: 43.8452950, 10.5061592). It used to be a Roman amphitheater in the past (the date of its creation is set to 1st-2nd century BC). Currently, the arena is an ellipse-shaped square, and the auditorium has been transformed into a series of buildings closely surrounding this square. You can enter the square only through specific gates. Once inside, you'll see a really interesting place!

Torre Guinigi

We head from Piazza dell'Anfiteatro towards the unique 45-meter Torre Guinigi tower from the 14th century (L; GPS: 43.8437628, 10.5070067). You can climb up this tower (the admission ticket: 4€) and then from above admire the magnificent panorama of Lucca. Be careful while going up the stairs (232 stairs) - the stairs are quite steep. An interesting fact is that on the top of the tower grow quite large oaks.

Chiesa di Santa Maria Forisportam

We slowly return to the parking lot heading the south. We pass by the Piazza Santa Maria Foris Portam square, next to the church of Chiesa di Santa Maria Forisportam from the 12th century, also known as Santa Maria Bianca because of the interesting facade of white marble (M; GPS: 43.8421339, 10.5081492). The name "Fortis Portam" means "outside the walls" because once this part of the town was outside the city walls. On the square you can find the so-called "truncated column" - this is a Roman granite column which in the Middle Ages was a destination for riders participating in races.

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