A guide to Tuscany - Part II
Lucca & Pisa
In the second part of my Tuscany guide, I’ll take you to Lucca and Pisa, two cities not too far from the seaside and very close together.
Let’s start with Lucca. I fell in love with Lucca the first time I’ve visited, it was really love at first sight. If you’re ever planning a trip to Tuscany, make sure to stop and visit. With the car, it’s only half an hour away from Pisa.
The old town of Lucca is located inside high walls, so you’ll need to park your car outside and then continue by foot or by bike. You don’t need to enter the city immediately as a walk along the top of the wall is also very beautiful. Walking there you have different gates to enter the medieval city center. I think it is really pleasant to start at the South gate Porta San Pietro, the eldest gate of this little paradise called Lucca.
I especially love the summer evenings in Lucca’s small streets around the cathedral. Generally, I try to be there around 5:30 p.m., just after the shops open up again after the siesta, to enjoy a little bit of shopping.
Piazza dell’Anfiteatro being the main attraction for tourists, has not lost its charm on me! It is very romantic with the lights falling onto the old houses. All around the Piazza are many terraces inviting for a drink or dinner.
While writing this I see myself having a fancy dinner at Da Leo’s before listening to one of the concerts of the famous Lucca Summer Festival. Every year big names like Brian Adams, Back, Elton John or Lenny Kravitz take the stage on Piazza Napoleone. Via Fillungo is another of my favorite streets to stroll along! With about 690 m long the tiny beautiful street has its very own flair in midst of noble houses.
Lucca, also called the city of 100 churches, is inviting with artistic beauties and hidden treasures – just take a walk, look around and discover the city!
If you are an olive oil lover I can highly recommend the oil of the silver-leaved olive trees from the rural hills. Herbaceous, grassy and different notes finish the olive oil of the 'Colline Lucchesi', which is among the highest prized in Italy. The production is old fashioned, very exclusive and makes the best quality, don’t miss it!
My tip: take a hotel a little outside of the city! I very much like the charming Hotel Locanda Sant’Agata with only 9 rooms and a world-class restaurant. It makes for a relaxing stay in San Giuliano Terme in the countryside (only 15 minutes’ drive from Lucca). A stay at Locanda Sant’Agata lets you enjoy the countryside of Tuscany, whose landscapes have attracted dreamers and lovers of beauty and taste. The hotel, an age-old structure renewed with modern charm will make your stay unforgettable. In the restaurant, the Chef is known for his fine kitchen using the best organic local products in a 'farm to table' approach. Of course, they serve a selection of the best Tuscan wines. Let me tell you, it is the perfect setting for a romantic dinnertime.
picture via locandasantagata.it
As the hotel is ideally located between Lucca and Pisa, let’s move on to Pisa.
Pisa might be one of your obvious choices when traveling to Tuscany as a lot of people put ‘See the Leaning Tower of Pisa’ on their bucket list. Pisa, a fascinating medieval city, with yes, its famous Leaning Tower has a lot more to offer as for example the beautiful Square of Miracles (who does not believe in miracles? J) or the shopping street Borgo Stretto, lined by arcades.
When visiting the Leaning Tower make sure to take a crazy selfie or the traditional ‘leaning on the Leaning Tower’ pictures. Those will be pictures to put in your travel album, memories for life! You can also climb the Tower - do it, you’ll have a spectacular view.
We’ve now covered the Tuscan seaside, Lucca, and Pisa but Tuscany has far more to offer so if you are fascinated to follow along, the third part of my Tuscany guide is already under construction! ☺️ I will take you to Florence, Siena and San Gimignano and who knows, we might even find the time to have a wine tasting in the Chianti wine yards or discover other treasures this part of the region.