Italy has always had me by the you-know-whats.
Pardon my crudeness.
It’s just that no matter how hard I try, I just can’t find one damn thing wrong with this country (well, except for Naples).
Sure, I know that every country has its pros and cons and it’s impossible to say that an entire country is without its own set of flaws. But, for me personally, every trip I’ve ever taken to Italy has left me with an overwhelming feeling of pure, unadulterated lovey doveyness.
Sure, the chaotic rhythm of Rome can work the nerves of even the steeliest of traveler, but, damn, it’s Rome, one of the most intriguing, energetic, passionate and historically relevant places on earth. The same goes for Florence, one of the most gorgeous and sophisticated cities you’ll ever visit. And now that we’re onto lists, Sardinia is, by far, one of the most scenic and charismatic islands in the world.
And continuing with the Italian love fest tally … there’s Lucca.
Lucca, Lucca, Lucca.
As we were driving from Bolognia to Lucca, I had the feeling that I would certainly be able to finally be able to find something wrong with this Italian town. I don’t know why. I guess that since it’s not on the list of more well-known Italian destinations, I assumed it would be nice enough, but maybe a bit lackluster.
Hamatha wrong. Hamatha sorry.
What can I say about this beautiful medievil city that goes back Etruscan time period? From its Piazza Anfiteatro to the city’s surrounding ramparts turned into green walking paths, this charming Italian city is warm, welcoming and everything you’d want in the backdrop of an Italian romance novel.
Our first introduction to Lucca’s charms was locating our hotel on one of the most romantic streets in the city, Via Degli Angeli. I know that many people may not fall in love with streets so easily in most parts of the world, but is there anything more charming than a rustic, multi-pastel colored Italian street? Curvy and colorful, I fell in love with it immediately.
After checking into our hotel, which was as amazingly romantic as the street it’s located on, we immediately headed out to explore one of Lucca’s most famed attractions, the Piazza Anfiteatro. Again, muted yellows and peaches and perfectly cracked walls make up what used to be the city’s colosseum. Pure, simple Italy.
Lucca is known for the intact ramparts that surround the city. Going back to the 6th and 17th centuries, these walls were used to protect the city from pesky invaders. Today, the walls have been converted into a long pedestrian promenade that rings around the city.
Lucca’s beautiful San Michele in Foro Church goes back to 795 and has an active plaza at its side.
Quite a few of the Tuscan villages like San Gimignano and Pisa are known for their towers. Not to be outdone by its neighbors, Lucca has one very distinctive tower that certainly stands out, the tree-topped Guinigi Tower. It’s one of the few towers left in the city and has a beautiful garden, complete with full grown trees on the top.
Lucca = Serious Bicycle Style:
Lucca is also known for the number of historic and stately Italian villas located just outside the city. But if you don’t get a chance to visit them, there’s the beautiful Palazzo Pfanner just inside the Lucca walls.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to see in Lucca than what I have listed above, including fantastic people, heavenly gelato, a vast history and just an enjoyable warm ambience of good old fashioned Italian-ness. It was a great place to visit in its own right, but Lucca also makes for a very convenient base for exploring a bit of Tuscany and the Ligurian coast.
And although we certainly saw some beautiful areas as we explored this region of Italy, all in all, I have to say that it was all about Lucca lovey doveyness for me.