is a charming city approx 25 minutes by car from Celle and 30 minutes from Pisa Airport. It is the most civilised of Tuscany’s cities. A stately grid of Roman roads snug behind a mammoth belt of tree-topped battlements. Bicycles can be hired (Porta Santa Maria) and a cycle round the wall is not to be missed.
Lucca is home to Puccini, with soft pastel plasters, elegant landscape of churches (99 in No.) and palaces with delicate facades.
The Amphitheatre is an ancient site and constitutes one of the most characteristic and original monuments of the city. It dates from the 2nd century A.D. and it was built on an elliptal plan with two rows of 54 arcades and a maximum capacity of 10,000 spectators. In the Middle ages, houses were built over the ruins and over the course of time the piazza has developed to what you see now, a colourful piazza with elegant shops and cafes and is used as a centre of cultural activities, music festivals and fairs.
The Main shopping area is Via Fillungo that leads to Via Roma and the main Piazza San Michele.
There are numerous places to see within the walls of Lucca, or just stroll down the shop lined streets enjoying the ambiance. Just remember that all the shops close at 1pm/ish and do not open again until 3.30/ish until 7.30/ish. A lot of ‘ishes’ but that is Italy! Very relaxed and easy going.
Be tempted to dive down the side streets spurring off the main streets as there are many lovely clothe and food shops, waiting for you to discover. A map is essential for Lucca, as it is a maze. You will find one in the apartment. If you forget to take one with you, there is a TOURIST INFORMATION Office at Porta Santa Maria.
MUSIC FESTIVAL IN LUCCA
In the city that gave birth to Giacomo Puccini and Luigi Boccherini the music is of great importance: folk and pop in the squares, classical and operatic in the theatre and basilicas. The climate is usually mild, ideal for a stay in winter, not too inclement, and in summer, hot but bearable.
During July evening concerts take place in Piazza Napoleone. Many big names are attracted to Lucca, Elton John is a big fan of Lucca and in the past there has been Simply Red, Paul McCartney
Puccini and Mozart recitals are held every evening in the Chiesa di San Giovanni. Full programe on www.puccinielasualucca.com
MARKETS in Lucca
During the summer there is a temporary market in the Piazza San Michele just in front of the church. Goods ranging from Clothes, kitchenware, jewellery, local food produce, bags of every description and size. One can never tell when it is going to be there tho’ ! However, on the 3rd weekend in the month there is an antique market which is located in the streets close to Piazza Nepoleone. Covering a large area of the this part of the city, you can stroll through the intricate alleyways and find an interesting selection of items.
There are markets on Saturdays outside walls around the Sports Arena, and on a Wednesday there is a very large market just inside the perimeter of the walls . During the Santa Croce public holiday on 15th September and for a few days before and after, there are even more markets and crafts.