The walls of Lucca offer locals and tourists alike the fun way to see Lucca. You can walk, jog, run, bike, and even roller-skate this fabulous wall. When visiting Lucca, it is a must thing to do. The view of gardens on patios, the church bell towers, the winding streets, and the beauty of the buildings all take on a special feel from on high. The best part is that there are paths, not stairs, that you can walk to get to the top. A tourist treat when visiting Lucca.
The palace and the tree-topped tower, belonging to the prestigious merchant family of the Guinigi, are located in one of the most characteristic medieval neighbourhoods of the city. It is the only remaining example of home of Gothic nobility, with elegant quadriforium on the facades, large internal rooms, and a second doorway for carriage access. The tower, one of the few remaining that ornate the medieval city, is 44 meters high and culminates in a small terrace crowned by larch trees. From this vantage point, one can enjoy a stupendous, vast panorama.
LA PIAZZA ANFITEATRO
Piazza dell'Anfiteatro was built on the ruins of the ancient Roman amphitheatre (2nd century A.D.), which explains its closed elliptical shape. The square is accessed through four vaulted gates, but only one of these entry points, the lowest, exactly traces one of the original accesses.
LA CATTEDRALE DI SAN MARTINO
The Duomo of San Martino (or the Cathedral) was founded in the VI century. It was rebuilt around 1060 and renewed between the XII and the XIII centuries. The interior was rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries.
One of the highlights of this church is Civitali's Tempietto; built in 1482. It houses the Volto Santo (Holy Face). A large wooden crucifix said to have been carved by Nicodemus; the biblical figure who helped Joseph of Arimathea remove Christ's body from the cross.
Another thing not to miss inside the church is the sarcophagus of Ilaria del Carretto. It was made between 1407 and 1408. Ilaria was one of Paolo Guinigi's wifes. The lord of Lucca. She died very young.
All-inclusive ticket with the Museo della Cattedrale and sacristy of San Martino (sarcophagus of Ilaria del Carretto) Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9.00 - 19.00 / Sunday 9.00 - 14.00
THE CHURCH OF SAN MICHELE IN FORO
The church of San Michele in Foro along with its piazza stand at the center of the old city, where the Roman forum used to be. Construction of the church began in the 11th century, the campanile was completed in the 12th century, and finally the Romanesque façade was added in the 13th century.
The façade is actually much taller than the main structure of the church, and different metals had to be used to make sure it would be sturdy enough to resist strong winds. The same goes for the 4 m tall statue of Archangel St. Michael, to whom the church is dedicated, which sits on top of the façade.
The church is open to visitors daily free of charge.
THE CHURCH OF SAN FREDIANO
San Frediano was built between 1112 and 1117, and its amazing Byzantine-style golden mosaic, called "The Ascension of Christ the Saviour", was created by Berlinghieri and added to the façade about a century later. Another one of the basilica's treasures is the baptismal font that stands at the back of the church, depicting the story of Moses in a series of finely carved pannels. Another interesting fact is that the columns inside the nave were actually taken from the nearby Roman amphitheatre which, at the time they started building San Frediano, had long been abandoned.
The Basilica of San Frediano is open every day and admission is free.
TORRE DELLE ORE
This clock tower dates back to 1390, although the current hand-wound clock mechanism was installed in the 18th century. There are 207 steps to climb to reach the top of the tower, but contrary to the large marble steps of Torre Guinigi, this time we found ourselves climbing up the tower's original narrow and uneven wooden staircase.
Admission is 3.50 Euros, but for 5 Euros you can buy a combined ticket that also gives access to the Torre Guinigi.
Winter Opening Hours: daily 9:00 - 17.30
Spring opening hours: daily 10:00 to 18:00
Summer opening hours: daily 10:00 to 19:00
PUCCINI HOUSE AND MUSEUM
Lucca is the birthplace of a surprising number of composers, but none are as famous as Giacomo Puccini, the man behind "Madame Butterfly", "La Boheme", "Manon Lescault" and "Tosca", among other well-known operas. Puccini was born at No. 9 Corte San Lorenzo. The house was turned into a small museum in 1979.
Winter: 10:00-13:00, 15:00-18:00. Summer: 10:00-18:00.
Closed on monday.