Lucca has such a lot to offer visitors! This lovely town is one of Tuscany’s most outstanding medieval walled towns and a walk around the almost completely intact 4km stretch of ancient fortifications will transport you back in time, as well as help you work up an appetite for some of the lovely Tuscan food you can sample in the town. Lucca also has some outstanding art and architecture to show off, but most people who visit Lucca come to see the walls, the towers or to attend one of the many summer festivals, so we will have a look at these three attractions in more detail.
The Walls of Lucca.
Nowadays the walls are a popular meeting place for locals, and thronged with walkers and cyclists in summer, but this was not always the case and they have had a turbulent history. The original walls were defensive, and built during Ancient Roman times, and few traces of these are visible today. The original Medieval walls were built in the 11th and 12th century and in the 14th century they had to be extended to accommodate the growing population of the town. The walls you see today were commissioned in 1504 in order to keep up with “modern” military advances, to ensure that Lucca could remain safe from the Medici. These walls were extremely advanced for their time, and required the collaboration of many Military architects from other parts of Italy. They were never breached! Along the 4 km stretch of walls you will find 11 bastions (all different from one another in design) and 3 gates. Inside the ramparts were large rooms to house soldiers, horses and munitions. The walls are always accessible to visitors and children especially will love exploring these ancient fortifications.
The Towers of Lucca
Lucca once had about 130 towers – representative of the power and wealth of the families who built them. Sadly, only 2 important towers remain today, the rest having been demolished long ago. The most recognizable symbol of the city is the Guinigi Tower which has a huge Oak trees growing from its’ roof top garden! You will have a wonderful view of the town from the top of this tower if you can manage the 235 steps to the top!
In the town you will also find the Torre delle Ore, or clock tower. This one is taller than the Guinigi Tower and has provided the citizens of Lucca with a clock since 1390! It is open to the public if you fancy climbing to the top for another great view.
Festivals in Lucca
The lovely Piazza san Guisto is home to many festivals throughout the year. Some of the most important are the Summer Festival, where live music concerts featuring world-class bands are held every July, the Winter festival featuring Jazz and soft rock, the Comics Festival – all you ever wanted to know about comics – and the Puccini Opera festival in July each year – (Puccini was born in Lucca and is greatly revered in this town.)
Lucca guided tours.
If you have only few hours it makes sense to hire a local guide. By doing so you can explore on the highlights of the city and discover the long history that characterised Lucca. The guides are professional individuals who are trained by the local government, the town can be explored on foot in 2/3 hours. You can reach Lucca from Pisa, Cinque Terre, and Florence and it the the ideal destination for a day trip while you are on vacation in Tuscany.
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My boyfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed the Foodies Tour, which included stops at producers of cheese, balsamic vinegar and cured meat. Paolo was an amazing tour guide – he's extremely knowledgeable, kind and a great communicator. We learned so much! It was really nice to be in a smaller group and most of the producers we visited were small so we were able to get a close up view of the processes. We'd highly recommend Emilia Delizia as this tour was truly authentic and a highlight of our trip!
thank you for the kind review
The tour of the Parmesan Reggiano cheese dairy, Balsamic Vinegar farm, the Parma ham and lunch at the organic vineyard was thoroughly enjoyed by our family of 4. Paolo was a gracious and knowledgeable host for the day and provided us with insights to the production of the cheese and balsamic vinegar which was enhanced due to his chemistry background. We would thoroughly recommend this tour to those interested in the specialities produced in the Modena region.
We had a wonderful tour, best part about visiting the Modena region!
The tour was perfect. I think Paolo would be a splendid ambassador for Italy in the EU. He knows how excellent Italian food and eating together can solve many major problems, and can stop aggressive behavior. Not the hunt for more money, but the well being of family and friends counts. Paolo shows us the products of ages of civilization and he did this like an artist. So after the tour we really love Italia more and we'll come back. We will call you Paolo, Thanks!
Following two tours with your guides this week I would like to express my thanks for some wonderful experiences.
Monday we did the tour of cheese making, balsamic and Salami which was very good and the guide Paolo was very knowledgeable.
The truffle hunt tour today was absolutely amazing, the guide Stefano is pure gold and the tour was built with much thought. Our best experience so far, by far.
Looking forward to more tours and fun next time we are in Italy.
The group (and me) was VERY satisfied. We really enjoyed the Parmegiano Regiano which was interesting and we got to buy some delicate and cheap cheese, the same with the balsamico. The Ferrari driving was off course an experience for life. The Winery lunch felt very genuine and the people there was really welcoming and nice people. The genuine feeling there was however the big plus for us.
Paolo was excellent as our guide. He also felt very genuine. He did not talk just for the sake of talking, but when he had something to say he did it in a respectful and nice way. Everyone in the group really liked him.
I wanted to let you know what a great day we had this past Friday on our tour with Jacamo. (Probably not spelling it right) He was very nice and explained everything to us. It sure gives you a new appreciation when you are slicing cheese. 🙂 Our tour ended with him taking us to the vineyard for a tour and lunch and there, Paolo, the owner could not have been more nicer. It was a perfect ending.
Please let Jacamo know what a great job he did and how much we really appreciated it and his knowledge
The website is well structured and we received a prompt answer to all questions. Gabriele supported us with all information we needed and the organization before the trip was excellent.
We had an air conditioned van, which was very relaxing through the whole tour. The first stop was the parmigiano production, which was very impressive and interesting. We could learn and especially see all the different steps and even taste the various aged parmigiano. The second step was the balsamic vinegar tasting. Finally the meat part was interesting in the museum but we hoped that we also could see more about the production and their work, but the tasting was delicious. In overall we had a very informative and well accommodated half day with our guide
It was great experience! We visited Parmesan cheese production, Balsamic vinegar farm, Ham museum and Farmer's lunch. Our guide gave us a detailed explanation, we were very satisfied. An excellent tour for a reasonable price, highly recommended.
Nous sommes une famille de cinq et nous avons adoré notre expérience. Les trois endroits étaient choisis judicieusement. Notre guide était très généreuse et super gentille. Nous recommandons ce tour ( parmesan, vinaigre balsamique et jambon de parme).