Truly, Lucca is magnificent. We adored the people, the landscape, the history, the food, the exhausting climb in 35° temps up Torre Guinigi, and the five room hotel we stayed at, the lovely and highly recommended, Il Pozzo di Santa Zita. It’s brilliant in every way except that it’s, and this is the -1, landlocked. Perhaps it was more noticeable after leaving Como, Portofino, & Rapallo but water (any water - river, lake, sea, ocean) is what we are used to in Boston. This should not preclude a visit to Lucca. I only bring it up because these days we look at cities, towns, & villages as potential places to live as we think down the road about retirement. Nevertheless, Lucca has a strange familiarity and comforting feel that made us think of home.
Lucca is surrounded by medieval walls that were once built as a fortification in the 16th century but now are a pedestrian promenade and a bicyclist’s dream. Passeggiata delle Mura Urbane, or the walk of the urban walls, is a park of sorts and no trip to Lucca would be encompassing without a stroll or bike around the ancient city on the wall.
If you are up for a little cardio, climb the 14th century Torre Guinigi. It’s a 232 step slog up to the top but you will be rewarded with the most incredible 360° views of Lucca. If you are claustrophobic, you might want to pass on this as there is little room to maneuver at the apex
Since you’ve built up an food and drink appetite, we would highly recommend, La Grotta (a trattoria in the main Roman Anfiteatro or main piazza). Most places there are directed towards tourists but the food and service here is top notch. Canuleia and Gigi Trattoria are also excellent choices and we didn’t not see a single tourist besides ourselves. Both are gastronomically authentic and attentive.
Speaking of the 2 B.C. Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, the main square of Lucca, it was once the equivalent of a Roman coliseum holding 10,000 spectators. Now, it is surrounded by trattorias and shops. As you stand in the center of the piazza, it is very easy to imagine what transpired millennia ago.
There is so much to see and do in this small city of 85,000 people. You will see smiles in abundance, eat like kings and queens, and wish that your time there wouldn’t come to an end. Visit Lucca. It is perfect. Land locked or not.