One the things that we did during our trip to Florence, Italy was to take a day trip that included going to Lucca and then going to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. The trip itself was certainly worth it, but as fascinating as the Leaning Tower of Pisa might be, we found Lucca to be the highlight. We enjoyed walking the narrow streets and seeing the wonderful architecture of the Tuscan city. Lucca is only a short drive from Florence making it a perfect place to explore during a visit to the area.
Of the different places that we spent time visiting while we were in Lucca, several of them certainly stood out. First is the Lucca Cathedral with its unique bell tower, which has different colors due to the different materials that were used in its construction. The base of the tower is made of quartz stone, while the top floors are made of white limestone, making for an interesting contrast. Another interesting feature of the cathedral are the three arches that are part of the entrance. One of the arches is smaller than the other two due to the fact that the bell tower existed at the time of the construction and the architects reduced the size of the third arch to accommodate the tower.
Another must see location is the Guinigi Tower, which is visible from throughout Lucca. What makes it unique is the garden on the roof with its oak trees providing shade. Built in the late 1300’s by the Guinigi family, who were wealthy merchants in the area, the tower certainly stands out amongst the other buildings in Lucca. The climb up the 235 stairs to the top of the 125 foot tower is certainly worth it as you are rewarded with amazing views of the historic city. One can imagine the wealthy Guinigi family sitting on the rooftop to escape the heat of city below with its warm breezes and wonderful shade trees.
We also stopped for a traditional Tuscan lunch at the Buca di Sant’Antonio, which dates back to 1782. Since the restaurant is known for their handmade pasta, which is made fresh every day, we had to get an order of their ravioli in addition to a rabbit salad. The copper pots hanging from the ceiling add to the ambiance of the restaurant. It was certainly a wonderful way to end our half day in Lucca before heading to Pisa and returning once again to Florence.