One of Tuscany’s true gems, Lucca is an accessible city with charm to spare. From its Renaissance-era defensive walls and soaring towers to its charming churches and convivial bars and restaurants, the city is the perfect destination for day-trippers seeking la bella vita. Here’s how to make the most of your 1-day visit.
Morning: Immersive City Sightseeing
Lovely Lucca is, in many ways, the land that time forgot—and is all the better for it. The winding, narrow streets of the city center are largely car-free, but you don’t need a hop-on-hop-off-bus tour to discover its sights. Do as the native Lucchesi do and explore the city by bike; wend your way past churches, towers, and atmospheric piazze. Alternatively, walking tours provide a slower, more immersive way to see the sights, while horse-and-carriage rides offer a romantic option for circling the city by its Renaissance-era defensive walls.
Afternoon: Authentic Cooking and Dining
From homemade pasta to local wine, Lucca is the perfect destination for foodies and would-be cooks. Once you’ve worked up an appetite from your sightseeing excursion, indulge in a traditional, multicourse Italian meal. Visit a local trattoria, or, if you prefer a hands-on experience, sign up for a cooking class held in the home of a Lucca resident. You won’t just learn the secrets behind classic Lucchese dishes—you’ll also see a local’s-eye view of the Tuscan city.
Evening: A Classical Concert
Giacomo Puccini, the opera composer whose masterworks include Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, and Tosca, was a native Lucchese, and if you listen closely, you can still hear some of his most famous and beautiful melodies wafting over the city. End your day in Lucca on a high note—quite literally—when you book tickets to an evening of classical, Puccini-penned music. Venture into one of Lucca’s atmospheric churches, and listen to classically trained singers and musicians perform his best-known arias.