A Great Break In Lucca

Lucca Aerial View Cristina Gottardi Unsplash

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This is a sponsored post from Hotel Grand Universe Lucca.

Also known as the city of a hundred and one churches, Lucca is one of the most beloved cities in all of Tuscany. While it is perfectly located for day trips to Pisa and Florence, there is plenty to do and see in the historic city itself. From the abundance of churches to historic piazzas and the medieval walls that encircle the Italian retreat, Lucca has plenty of culture and European charm on offer.

Visit St Martin Cathedral

Lucca is known for its many churches and no trip to the city is complete without viewing the most impressive one of them all, Lucca’s Duomo. With stained glass windows, elegant paintings on the ceiling and marble floors, the interior is as spectacular as the cathedral’s grand facade. Inside the cathedral is also the Volto Santo (“Holy Face of Lucca”) – a relic that is rumoured to have miraculously appeared in Lucca from Palestine in 782 and has been a place of pilgrimage ever since.

Interior of an ornate cathedral with columns, arches and a decorated ceiling
The magnificent Duomo (photo copyright Cristina Gottardi via Unsplash)

Bike On The City’s Medieval Walls

With very few hills, Lucca is perfectly suited for exploration by bike. After riding along the virtually car free streets and alleys, why not head to the medieval walls? Lucca is the only Italian city with fully intact walls encircling it, first built back in the Roman era. The grand walls are wide enough to include a bike path on top.

A leisurely cycle takes about 30 minutes to go around Le mura di Lucca and showcases impressive views of the mountains surrounding them. There is also a market by the wall which is perfect for a post-cycle stroll or haggle. Bike rental places can be found all around the city, Cicli Rai Bike Rental being located only minutes from the walls.

Take A Tour Of The Stunning Lucca Gardens

For those looking to slow things down and enjoy some of the greener sights of the city, look no further than this insightful tour of the gorgeous Lucca Gardens. Travellers can join local guide Antonella as they navigate gardens over 200 years old. Routing through the Villa Bottini and the Botanical Gardens, Antonella brings to life the deep history of the gardens and provides unique details on the amazing variety of trees, plants and fauna that colour the grounds.

Groups will also head up to the breathtaking Guinigi Tower – a unique tower built in the Middle Ages that can be seen for miles around thanks to its rooftop garden with soaring trees. After a few hours of exploring the grounds, the tour rounds off nicely with a well-deserved aperitivo in the private gardens. ToursByLocals offers this three-hour Lucca Gardens Tour for £165 per tour (for up to 10 people). The tour includes guiding services.

Night time scene with a full moon. Chairs on a raised terrace looking over the town and the mountains beyond
Looking over Lucca from the terrace of the Grand Universe hotel (photo copyright Hotel Grand Universe Lucca)

Eat Al Fresco At Piazza Dell’Anfiteatro

For a much-needed break during a busy day sightseeing, soak up the sun at Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, a former amphitheatre which is now the centre of town-life and a symbol of Lucca. In the middle of the yellow-painted town square sits Ristorante Trattoria L’ Angolo Tondo. The eatery provides not just excellent Italian food with plenty of vegetarian options, but a vast drinks menu and the opportunity to absorb the ambience of the iconic piazza.

Stay At The Grand Universe Lucca

Overlooking two of the most beautiful piazzas in Lucca, Piazza del Giglio and Piazza Napoleone, the Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection is perfectly situated as a base from which to explore the city. Having been a palazzo in the Renaissance, the building is rich with history which lives on in the present, allowing guests to be immersed in an extraordinary atmosphere where the classic and the modern come together.

Large empty square with a statue in the middle and a grand theatre building along one side
Looking out from the hotel to the Piazza del Giglio (photo copyright Hotel Grand Universe Lucca)

The hotel offers special experiences from Tuscan olive oil tastings to mixology classes. Its onsite restaurant Legacy Bistro Wine Bar lets guests discover Italy in all its culinary glory, with evolved Tuscan cuisine and a selection of fine wines adding a flavourful touch to any visit. Other facilities include Eterno Wine Cellar which sets the perfect stage for private events and intimate gatherings and their brand-new Sommità rooftop champagne bar, where visitors can admire Lucca from above while unwinding with a glass of bubbly.

Shop On Via Fillungo

There’s just something extra special about the clothes bought while on holiday. Via Fillungo, the main shopping street in Lucca, is the perfect destination for finding the items that visitors can forever remember their time in Tuscany by. With a variety of big brands, local boutiques and small shops selling leather goods, the street also leads to many of Lucca’s other attractions and is worth a stroll even when just window-shopping.

Exterior of the Lucca cathedral. The front has many arches and beside it is a tall bell tower
The Lucca Duomo (photo copyright Miti Giant via Unsplash)

Take Home Your Own Prelude Of Existence

As the birthplace of world-class musicians and composers such as Giacomo Puccini, Nicolao Dorati and Giovanni Lorenzo Gregori, Lucca is a city with a long musical tradition. One unique experience unlikely to be found anywhere else is the opportunity to have a personalised prelude composed by a music composer at Symphony Lounge.

To be booked alongside a hotel stay at the Grand Universe Lucca, the experience includes a 60-minute session for two, fuelled by hot drinks and pasties with the personalised “Prelude of Existence” written on a music sheet, enclosed in a lush Tuscan Leather box to be taken home and cherished forever.

About Bewitched by italy

Bewitched By Italy is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), but Italy remains one of my favourite destinations. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…

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