Another postcard happy town - Lucca, and another mistake made...
Lucca Travel Blog› entry 8 of 12 › view all entries
So you know how I spoke about San Gimignano? And how I made a mistake by saving only 2 hours for that city and spending tons of time in Siena instead, and got on my high horse and advised you lot NOT to make the same mistake? Well, surprise surprise..... look who JUST repeated the mistake in a span of less than 48 hours!
I'm referring to another hidden gem in the Tuscan valley, this time in a 5 letter package called Lucca. It's about 20 minutes away from Pisa, so much so that you don't have a full on train service but actually a small little service that does a direct 1 stop journey.
Once in Lucca, it was quite easy. You walk out of the rather nice quaint railway station, and you see a bunch of "new type" buildings that the first thought that comes to your mind is disappointment. But a quick pitstop @ the "i" (Tourist Info centre), got the town map and proceeded to cross the roads, climbed the walls and then went into Lucca, proper ol skool Lucca. And here began the wondrous journey...
A bit about Lucca first - this was the place where Casear, Crassus and Pompey met back in the BC (yep BC, no wonder I don't remember the exact date) and the 3 gentlemen decided to rule Roma as a triumvirate.
I was famished, so the first stop of the day was amazing "home cake", I believe ginger flavoured and this was right across the church to one of the corners of the town. The church by itself was average, and there was some kind of dancing and all going on in the piazza outside. I still wasn't impressed with the town! But the change started here..
A walk through the town and I could suddenly start to feel it. The best town I could compare this to was Robin Hood Bay from this trip.
So the only 2 places I visited here were the two towers Torre delle ore and Casa and Torre Guinigi which is basically a horrible tower with oak trees on top. I didn't so much care for the towers as they seemed a bit modern and boring, but the views were amazing.
The town is quiet. There are so many roads to "choose" from to get lost, that even though you have a constant flood of tourists, it always seems you've got the city for yourself. Every ancient house has geraniums blooming, scooters parked and Pinocchio statues. My favourite part was wandering into the Piazza Anfiteatro which was originally mined for building stone but today the oval remains as a base for medieval houses.
The walk back to the railway station was along the walls which was also pleasant. You get a perfect shot of modern Lucca and old Lucca on either side which makes for fascinating contrast. I was hungry (again!), and chose more sweets for my 7pm "afternoon tea" before I caught the 1hr+ train back to Firenze.
Overall, I'd highly recommend this town for a casual stroll. It's kind of sad how towns like this and San Gimignano get towered by the behemoths Pisa and Siena resp., that even the tourist books give these places a "oh by the bye, if you have time then visit..." treatment.