Riding our rented Vespa, we head north. “You can’t miss Lucca!”, they told us at the travel agency, when we booked the tour of our honeymoon in Tuscany. Will they be right?
The sixteenth-century Lucca’s walls rise majestically in front of us. Were the surroundings really so dangerous to make the construction of such walls necessary?, we wonder, surprised. Actually, we read in our Love me in Tuscany guide that the walls were never used for defense, but served to block the expansion of Florence: Lucca was in fact the only city-state in the region to maintain the independence until 1847. From such an introduction, we can’t expect nothing but a special city.
Therefore we decide to observe the city from up its walls, and we discover that they are so wide they host a real wooded park, a boulevard that runs all the 4.5 km of the perimeter. Among the people strolling and speeding on their bicycles around us, we see Lucca the way it is: a precious diamond embedded in a ring. We take a picture of us kissing with the phone, while we laugh like kids, with Lucca looking at us from our backs.
We head towards the main cathedral, dedicated to San Martino. “It looks like Pisa’s one!”, you exclaim, surprised, pointing at it. To tell the truth, from the outside the facade reminds of Pisa’s cathedral, in its form and light colors. What makes it unique, though, is the asymmetry of the right part, almost squashed against the bell tower, previously existent. Inside, the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto by Jacopo della Quercia enchants us for its elegance, with the refined features sculpted in a marble that looks almost like butter.
Lucca is called “city of the 100 churches”, and we soon understand why. The Basilica of San Frediano, the most ancient one, is a masterpiece, with a marvelous mosaic on the main facade. The church of San Michele, in perfect Pisan Romanic style, surely deserves our attention too. Located in piazza San Michele, or piazza delle catene, for the chains that delimitate it, the church is actually in the center of Roman forum, now citizens’ favorite meeting place.
Anywhere we turn to, Lucca shows us magical views, rich in history and culture. Tired from the long walk, we decide to eat one of the typical soups in piazza dell’Anfiteatro, that it is said to be the city’s heart. It replicates its closed structure too: you can enter only through four vaults. At the center of the square, we feel like we are in the middle of the Roman amphitheater whose track it was built on.
During afternoon, we take a stroll through via Fillungo, and you are enraptured by the shop windows of the city’s chicest boutiques. I propose you to admire the sunset from torre Guinigi, one of the two towers left in Lucca among the 250 it owned in Middle Ages. In the holm oaks’ shadow in its rooftop garden, we hold each other in silence, while Lucca slowly turns golden underneath us, most precious than ever.
For a further taste of romantic Tuscany, Love me in Tuscany.
The complete guide to the perfect love trip is Love me in Tuscany.