I know when most people think of Tuscany they think of Florence. But for me it’s Lucca. I am in love with Lucca.
Actually, my entire family is having a love affair with the city right now. The kids want to go back immediately and keep talking about it at the dinner table. Our departure was met with tears including my own. It’s hard to find cities that still have a soul.
Lucca is about 45 minutes from Florence and 20 minutes from Pisa. We flew into Pisa with a 20 minute drive into Lucca.
Lucca was founded by the Etruscans and became a Roman colony in 180 BC. It’s history is steep with many layers. It’s a Medieval City with walls that surround the heart of Lucca. You can ride bikes and walk on the wall to admire the views.
For me and our family Lucca is about a certain lifestyle. It’s about taking life as it comes and enjoying it. We admired the buildings, shops and cuisine but we didn’t rush it. We also loved the small things like the supermarket Essalunga. We spent time as a family not really touring but living.
It was charming to walk the streets and not deal with mobs of tourists that your are sure to find in Florence. Flavia’s son Phillipo toured around with us for the day as we became acquainted with the area. We rented bikes to ride on top of the wall. It’s the best way to get a view of the city. Adrian had so much fun on the bike that day.
Flavia from Villa Baggine and I both have a passion for table linens. I desperately wanted to find some to take home so we went on a linen shopping adventure.
I bought a couple of items from this fun shop Le Sorelle.
There is another shop that also had amazing pottery and I am kicking myself right now for not buying any of it while I was there!
This particular shop also has antiques in the back that you can browse through. I love this picture because it is typical Italian. That’s Flavia with the cute purse, me with the camera, and the store owner in the background – can you see him in the mirror?
I found this adorable kids saddle perched on a sofa. I love the detail with the light blue and red flowers.
The boutiques were full of fun clothing selections. I love the teal color that I was seeing everywhere.
Bursts of color would be here and there and down narrow paths like this one.
The palazzos where full of families and neighbors. It felt like a community. Many people chatting in the streets and running into each other at shops.
Giulia was completely at home considering we found tons of stuff with her name on it spelled with a “G”.
Lucca is truly one of the best kept secrets in Italy. We are counting the days until we get to go back.
Melissa RuttanaiJune 3, 2012 at 1:33 pm
Hi Carrie! Love this article. I am planning a trip to Florence with 3 other friends. We are thinking of doing a bike ride to see some wineries. I heard Lucca may be a good hub for a tour like this. Do you know if it is? Or have any recommendations for such a tour?
Love the blog!!!
Carrie PaciniJune 4, 2012 at 9:17 am
@Melissa: Lucca is a great place to stay if you are looking at biking in general. The entire city gets around via bike.
Also note Lucca is really known for their Olive Oil and there are tours that you can do for that.
As for wine Tenuta Valgiano makes some of the best wines in this region with the top one being the “Tenuta di Valgiano” a small production made with Sangiovese, Syrah,and Merlot.
Here is the oil and wine route: http://www.stradavinoeoliolucca.it/en/theroute
If you are looking for the great super Tuscan Wines you will find them about 50 miles out by the Maremma Coast.
I hope this helps!!
MarjiApril 14, 2014 at 5:17 pm
I found you by accident….and live in Houston too (Kingwood). My father was from Lucca and your pictures have given me something special….my dream is to visit Lucca some day…..oh how happy you have made me.
Carrie PaciniApril 19, 2014 at 2:59 pm
Hi Marji, I am so glad you enjoyed the post on Lucca, it is magical place for me and I hope you get to visit it soon.
LisaMay 12, 2014 at 8:18 am
Do you by any chance remember the name of the ceramics shop you liked but didn’t purchase from? I’m trying to lure my family to visit Lucca as it looks to be not so tourist oriented and that appeals to me a great deal! Thank you!
Carrie PaciniMay 29, 2014 at 9:42 am
Hi Lisa, I’ve been looking through my notes for the name of the shop and still can’t find it. I would ask someone in town when you are in Lucca. The shop owners all know each other. I would make sure when you are asking that you describe it as a shop that has Tablecloths, Ceramics, and Antiques. This will help them narrow it down to that exact shop. If you even show them a few of the pictures via phone then they will recognize it!