Tour of Tuscany – Lucca

Lucca isn’t one of the big-name cities you usually see in Italian tours, but we thought it was one of the best places we went. The city walls, dating back to the 16th century, are completely intact, so you can walk or bicycle along the top of the wall, all the way around. We didn’t do that, although some of the people in our group rented bicycles and did. We had hoped to go back to Lucca on one of our free days at the end of the trip, but decided against it because of the poor weather. Our guide told us that the reason the walls were intact was that Lucca was never conquered until it was taken by Napoleon, who wanted to leave the city intact.

As usual, click any photo for bigger.

Wall of Lucca Wall in Lucca
Click for bigger, and look how tiny the people near the wall are (not the people in the foreground) to get an idea of how huge the wall is. The top of the wall looks like a wide road with trees on either side – you can walk the entire wall along this path.
Cathedral of St. Martin (Duomo di San Martino) Cathedral of St. Martin (Duomo di San Martino) Within the duomo is the crucifix known as the “Holy Face of Lucca”. According to legend, it was created by Nicodemus and depicts the actual face of Jesus. There’s an interesting story about the history of this piece, which you can read in this nice article about Lucca. From the photograph of the statue in the article, you can see how different it looks from more modern depictions of Jesus.
Church of Saint Frediano in Lucca Church of Saint Frediano in Lucca
Church of Saint Frediano in Lucca. The mosaic of Christ and the Twelve Apostles is incredible.
Church of San Michele in Lucca Columns
Church of San Michele in Lucca. Detail of the columns – each one is different!
The Roman amphitheater in Lucca Curved building in the Roman amphitheater in Lucca
Then there’s the Roman Amphitheater (the plaza is built on top of it). The buildings surrounding the plaza are curved.

We climbed to the top of the Guinigi Tower (230 steps), which is topped with trees and gives a lovely view of the city. Medieval-type prints adorn the walls of the tower to enjoy as you make your climb.

Guinigi Tower Staircase in the Guinigi Tower in Lucca
You can see the tower (and its trees) in the background. It’s a lot of steps to the top!
Paintings in the Guinigi Tower in Lucca Paintings in the Guinigi Tower in Lucca
Some of the paintings point the way up the steps. It was hard not to think of Monty Python.
View from the Guinigi Tower in Lucca View from the Guinigi Tower in Lucca
The view from the top of the tower was beautiful. And also humorous. This rooftop has the message “Where is the Happyness?” scrawled on it.
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4 Responses to Tour of Tuscany – Lucca

  1. margene says:

    I really, really, really must go some day! It’s a wonderful place and that wall is amazing.

  2. Chris says:

    Those walls are so cool.

  3. susan says:

    Lucca is my favorite hill town. Were you there on market day? That’s fun.

  4. Lauren says:

    Great pictures! You’re making me jealous over here 🙂

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