Originally I had planned to have a day in Lucca; however, life had other plans that involved me turning Go Fish into a drinking game with a warm beer at a train station in the middle of nowhere. Good times, but only leaving me with limited time in the awesome city of Lucca. So once I finally arrived, how did I spend my 12 hours in Lucca? (Well 6ish of those were spent sleeping.)
Lucca is often overlooked by tourists, but it is a city rich in history and culture. It is also known for some of the best food in Tuscany–clearly enough to get me to go!
I caught the earliest train from Cinque Terre thinking I could be in Lucca by lunch. Unfortunately, while I was making the switch from one train to the other, the second train was delayed… about 4 hours. So instead of the original plan, I arrived after 7pm. I stayed at Ostello San Frediano which was in a good location inside the city walls. After checking into the hostel, I really only had time for dinner.
Fortunately, it was delicious. I ate at a little place walking distance from my hostel and the owner was very friendly. He helped me chose regional dishes and wine to go with it (of course!). What was my main course? Cheese with pears and honey. Yep, that’s an actual main course in Lucca. And I was all for it.
To burn off the massive amount of cheese I consumed and to take advantage of the small time I had in Lucca, I went for a walk around the city. It was a weekday and everything was closed, but there was the benefit of no crowds. Normally I tend to see cities during their busy hours when everyone is out, so this was a nice change. I walked over to what used to be the spot of the old Roman amphitheater. Now only the shape remains as cafés and restaurants populate the space.
However, this little night stroll was not enough to get my fix so I decided to wake up early. Really early. To see the city before catching the train to Pisa the next morning. So at 6am I rolled out of bed to walk the city. This was a first for me as I am not a morning person but I definitely don’t think it will be the last. There is some sort of magic to seeing a city this early. Bakeries are just opening and everything is fresh. The air is crisp and the only people you see are the morning joggers. I was able to see all the sights of the Lucca without the crowds.
One of the most recommended things to do in Lucca is bike or walk around the city walls. On top of the walls are beautiful parks and the two-and-a-half mile circuit makes it a perfect way to see the Lucca from different views. It is gorgeous and difficult to believe you are walking on walls. The city below was so peaceful and quiet.
While I am sad I only got a few hours in Lucca (and only one good meal!) I am happy I decided to make the most of it. When traveling, unplanned things can happen and you have to roll with the punches. Lucca is a beautiful city and I hope some day I can return to experience it a bit more, but for now I am quite pleased with my morning walk.