7 Things to Do in Lucca, Italy

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Advisor - Fora
Curated By


  • Italy

  • Nature Escapes

  • Outdoors

  • History

  • Local Food

garden with fountain, statues and hedges in Italian village
Fora’s Take

The walled Tuscan city of Lucca makes a perfect home base for visiting Florence, Pisa and Vinci. In the summer, we spent a week there after road-tripping through southern Tuscany and Umbria. We quickly fell under the spell of this relaxed city packed with restaurants, wine bars and boutiques. Lucca makes a great addition to any Italian itinerary. It's a delicious taste of la dolce vita.

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Where to stay in Lucca, Italy

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Things to do in Lucca, Italy

square with yellow buildings and outdoor dining

Walk the city walls. Explore Lucca's charming old town by taking a stroll or bike ride along the well-preserved walls encircling the city. The Republic of Lucca decided to build these fortifications in 1504 to defend the city from outsiders. Today, the tree-lined path at the top of the walls offers stunning views of the old city and surrounding countryside.

Climb the Torre Guinigi (Guinigi Tower). Look up Lucca in a guidebook, and you're bound to see a photo of its medieval Torre Guinigi. This tower is known for its garden of oak trees at the top. The reward for your steep ascent? Sweeping views of Lucca's rooftops and surrounding hills.

Explore the city by bike. Rent a bicycle and ride atop Lucca's walls or through the maze of streets and piazzas. Get lost! It's one of the best ways to explore this Tuscan city and stumble upon your new favorite pizzeria or osteria.

Shop — or window shop — along Via Fillungo. In the early evening, the crowds stream toward Via Fillungo, where you can browse countless local boutiques and international brands. Feeling peckish or overheated? There are plenty of places to stop for gelato or an Aperol spritz.

Stop by Piazza dell'Anfiteatro. Most piazzas are square or rectangular. Here, you can experience a unique circular historic gathering place built on the ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheater. These days, Piazza dell'Anfiteatro hosts a clutch of incredible Italian cafes and restaurants.

Attend a Puccini concert. Enter the musical world of Giacomo Puccini, one of Italy's most well-known opera composers. Lucca was Puccini's birthplace. As such, it offers several opportunities to learn about the man and hear his compositions. In addition to museum tours, several churches and historic buildings host Puccini concerts featuring iconic arias and other musical selections.

Take a private cooking class. One of the best ways to savor classic Tuscan cuisine is with a private cooking class. Several Lucca residents offer intimate cooking lessons and dinners in their kitchens.

Visit Lucca's botanical garden. Founded in the early 1800s by the then-duchess of Lucca, Orto Botanico Comunale di Lucca is a compact wonderland of flowers and trees. It makes for an ideal escape from city crowds — the perfect place to relax and reflect in an utterly tranquil environment.

Day trips

  • Florence for a total immersion into Renaissance art and culture. Don't miss a trip to the top of the Duomo!

  • Pisa for that iconic photo of the leaning tower.

  • Vinci for a peek at the place where Leonardo da Vinci got his start.

  • Viareggio for classic Italian seaside views and vibes.

Places to eat & drink in Lucca, Italy

charming old store front of pizzeria

Enjoy Tuscan pizza by the slice at Pizzeria da Felice. This century-old, family-run establishment is also the place to try local specialties like castagnaccio (sweet chestnut flour pie) or cecina (chickpeas flour pie).

Dress up for a night out at Ristorante Giglio. This one-star Michelin restaurant offers fine dining and an impressive wine list in an elegant setting on Piazza del Giglio.

Have a romantic dinner at Trattoria Canuleia. This was one of our favorite meals in all of Lucca. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu. Request a table in the beautiful, lamp-lit courtyard for a romantic night out.

Try a traditional dinner at Chiasso 13. This sweet, tiny restaurant off one of Lucca's charming alleyways serves up simple, homemade dishes you might not find on the menus of more touristy establishments. The food is authentic and the service is warm.

Get a refreshing aperitivo (pre-meal drinks and appetizers) at Vinarkia della Pavona. Aperol spritzes and cheese boards are available, of course, along with classic cocktails (don't sleep on the Negroni!).

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For more travel tips, check out Travel Advisor Jennifer Schwartz’s guide, Guide to Picturesque Picnics In and Around Rome. This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Italy.