Sienna, Motepulciano, and Lucca are the three towns I’ll talk about in my next posts. My trip in a few weeks will have me visiting so I might as well write about them as I’m very exited to go back.
So let’s start with the biggest town of Lucca. Lucca is a larger town with around 90 thousand residents, and was established as a roman colony in 180 BC, and the age really shows, in a good way. There’s lots of history, and the town wall that surrounds Lucca is really impressive. You can tell that this town could defend itself back in the day. Lucca made a lot of it’s wealth during the silk trade that began in the 11th century, and during the 10th-11th centuries Lucca was the capital of Tuscany
What I love about Lucca is that even though the city long ago outgrew its walls, it decided to keep the walls, which is really unique, and what they did with them I think is amazing. They opted to turn those huge walls into pedestrian walkways, with each corner of Lucca having different species of trees planted. When I visit Lucca I always try to go for a run around the walls, as I’m not only an avid runner, but this place just makes me so happy to run in. I always feel at peace, and I feel the history of Lucca.
There is lots to see in Lucca, and it feels like a larger city, so from my experience I always like to hit Lucca early in my trip as when I spend a lot of time in the small towns of Tuscany I’m almost too relaxed to visit Lucca, in that it starts to feel like it’s a big city!
Within Lucca there are plenty of squares, churches, and an old amphitheater, but as always when I look for things to do I look to Tripadvisor, and for this it’s spot on for the recommendations. Current number one is walking the walls, which again I love to run, so if you are a runner, bring your shoes! Guinigi tower is also on the list and is a really cool tower to see. At the base of the tower you need to pay a “toll” to walk the 230 steps to the top, but it’s something that shouldn’t be missed as the views from the top overlooking Lucca are the best you will experience. The Guinigi family built something like 250 towers, and the funny reason these towers were built was all about prestige. When I was younger the type of jeans you wore indicated how “cool” you were, back in the day the amount and size of the towers your family had were the same thing. What a difference a few hundred years makes right?
And of course I’ll finish with my favorite place to eat, Da Pasquale! This is a small and intimate restaurant with olive oil tastings and delicious Neapolitan influenced cuisine, which is a lot lighter than the normal Lucchese food. Most exiting however is Pasquale comes to every table and talks with you like you are long lost friends. Where else can you have amazing food and feel you are with family 3,000 miles away from home?