I am drawn to places that are off the usual tourist route, so I chose Lucca as our second base in Tuscany. Not only is the town charming and peaceful, it is only a short drive or train ride to Pisa and the Cinque Terre.
Lucca is surrounded by massive walls built in the 16th century. These days, people walk or bike around the tree lined and paved pathways atop the walls.
In the center of town is the Piazza Anfiteatro, built on the site of an ancient Roman amphitheatre. Over time it developed to its present elliptical shape with buildings around it. Today it is enlivened by cafes and shops and is the center of music festivals and fairs.
Lucca also has some of Italy’s finest medieval and Renaissance architecture, galleries and tiny churches.It is charming, cultured and peaceful; I’ve only been able to wander through a small part of the town but I can surely say that it is one of Tuscany’s best-kept secrets.
Why people don’t visit this town is a mystery to me. That I didn’t stay an extra day or two is something I regret.