Lucca, the petite Florence
Unlike many gentifried old towns in Italy, Lucca's historic old town is still inhabited by people and therefore mostly made up of residential buildings.
There are some beautiful buildings to be seen.
What to see
As opposed to the few other walled cities in Europe where the walls were built at the same time as the city, Lucca's Renaissance walls were erected encircling a pre-existing city that had developed harmoniously for several thousand years. As such, they are in better shape and have been totally integrated to the city.
These walls were designed by Leonardo da Vinci himself.
You can walk on them all around the city. The path is a about 4 km easy walk.
Lucca used to host 250 defensive towers. There are only 9 remaining.
The Torre Guinigi is one of the few tower houses that were built in Lucca. Built in 1384 by rich silk merchants, it is believed that the rooftop garden dates back to the 16th century.
Defensive towers are legion in Tuscany. They were built around the 14th century when the region was plagued by diseases and violence. Towers were then seen as a safe home to have.
When the Guinigi Family conquered the region, they decided to build a tower that would be defensive but also a display of their wealth and power.
Under Napoleon, his sister became Grand Duchess of Tuscany and maintained the tower and its rooftop garden.
The tower was renovated in the 1980s and is now open to the public.
Right across is the Torre delle Ore (clock tower) which can also be climbed.
The Amphitheatre Square is located in the heart of the city of Lucca, in Italy. It was built on the remains of a Roman amphitheatre that existed in this location since the 2nd century. It really is a unique sight.
Basilica di San Frediano
The oldest church of Lucca has some incredible mosaics on its facade. Its interior is rather neutral.
Chiesa di San Michele in Foro
San Michele has a unique facade worth a visit to Lucca for it alone. It is an intricately carved marble facade in Romanesque style. In comparison, the interior is very simple.
Duomo (San Martino)
A bit of the tourist path, and easily missed despite its size, the Cathedral is a typical example of Lucca Gothic style. The church is in both Gothic and Romanesque style, with a beautiful polychrome marble facade.
Inside there are some masterpieces of the Renaissance from Jacopo della Quercia, Tintoretto, Fra Bartolomeo, Ghirlandaio...
Besides these 3 masterpieces, there are many other churches to be seen.
Lucca Comics and Games
Can you believe that the largest comics festival in Europe and the second biggest in the world after the Comiket is held in little Lucca every year at the end of October? During 4 days, the city is packed with people. If you want to enjoy the city, it is better to avoid these days and the few days before and after scaffoldings have been mointed and dismantled.
In 2019, the festival will be held from 30/10 to 3/11.