I must admit I knew nothing about Lucca in Tuscany. Now I’ve been this Central Italian city will live in the memory. Shaded, narrow streets, classy and quirky shops, local trades and a Renaissance-era city wall which stood firm despite the desires of others.
It sits in a fertile plain around an hour from the huge port of Livorno and within 20 minutes of the huge American military base, one of the biggest in the world.
Lucca is the capital of the area and is famous for its superbly preserved city wall. This town has so much more. Elton John, Neil Young, Simply Red, Tom Jones are just some of the big-name music stars who took part in a recent music festival with a huge stage erected in the town centre.
It is packed with bars and restaurants, many of them in the centre created on the site of the former Roman amphitheatre. You can see the height of the original stands from the still standing walls.
We strolled with a guide for nearly two hours and around every corner – in one square there is a church with trees growing from the bell tower – there was something to excite the eye. For those who want a touch of class on holiday with the attractions of the tourist traps of Florence and Pisa nearby then consider stylish Lucca. My wife and I both felt it would be buzzing at night.
We were peckish and asked the guide to recommend a local restaurant. Atmospheric Rusticanella 2 in Via San Paolino lived up to expectations.
Lucca more than lived up to expectations.