An Easy Day Trip to Lucca: Things to do in Lucca, Italy

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Are you staying in Florence or Tuscany? Is your Livorno, Italy a port-of-call on your cruise itinerary? Let’s take a quick day trip to Lucca, Italy. See all the things to do in Lucca, Italy!

Livorno Cruise Port

We decided to spend our day in Lucca because our cruise docked for the day in Livorno, Italy. There are tips here for cruisers and for anyone here looking to take a day trip to Lucca, Italy.

The most obvious and popular option is Livorno to Florence, Italy. I don’t blame anyone because I LOVE Florence. The temptation to spend our day there was high.

Firenze is our favorite city in the world! With about 8 hours there, you have time to stroll the city, visit the Duomo, and perhaps eat at one of our favorite spots.

If you are thinking about spending the day in Florence, I highly recommend booking a transfer bus with the cruise line. It will take you directly to Florence and return the cruise ship in time.

Tuscany, in general, has a special place in our hearts. If you’re looking to explore it, rent a car to be picked up at the Livorno cruise port and drive into Tuscany. You will want to return and spend a longer length of time.

things to do in lucca italy | blog cover

Please note: this trip and post was written pre-Covid.

Day Trip to Lucca, Italy

This time around, we decided we’d do a quick day trip to Lucca, Italy. Every single time we are in Tuscany, everyone suggests we make it to the province of Lucca but we always run out of time.

So if you’re looking for a new Tuscan city to explore or a day trip from Florence, Lucca is the perfect alternative. You don’t have to do everything in Lucca in one day. We list the top things to do in Lucca, so you can get the most out of your day there.

I’m not sure what I expected when we ‘planned’ our visit here. I use the word planned loosely as I did little research beforehand. That’s unlike me, but I did have 5 cruise stops and then another week in Northern Spain I had to plan for. I do work a full-time job. Plus, my dog tore his ACL right before we left.

Day trip to Lucca, Italy

So besides seeing how long of a drive it was to get there and a few must things to do, I relied on Google during our drive there. My Wi-Fi Hot Spot worked overtime while hubby used it for directions and I perused Tripadvisor.

Of course, it was hard to focus on my phone as we entered the countryside and started spotting a few rolling hills and my favorite Cypress trees. We fought the other temptation, the one to forget Lucca and just drive around Tuscany.

long dirt road with cypress trees in Italy - Day Trip to Lucca, Italy
We took a little detour down this beautiful road. We found a beautiful hotel at the end of it.

It’s important to note that when you arrive in Lucca, you can not park inside the historic walls of the old city. There are free and paid parking lots outside the city walls. Visit this site for more info.

After we parked our car, we followed one of the paths that entered the old city of Lucca through one of their multiple entrances. This one was a tunnel that walked us under the old city walls. 

Things to Do in Lucca, Italy

Explore the Underground Tunnels

One of the things to do in Lucca, Italy that can easily be missed is exploring the underground tunnels. We entered through one of the tunnel entrances, but we could have missed it completely had we entered via a different route.

When we first entered the tunnels, we had no idea where we were headed exactly, but we knew we were in Lucca. We were in an Italian European city, no matter what we decided to do, we would love it.

Inside the tunnels of Lucca, Italy

Looking back, I’m glad that we entered the city through the underground tunnels. We would have missed them completely had we taken another entrance.

As we entered the old city of Lucca, it instantly reminded me of the city of Florence. It’s probably why we felt immediately at home. I dare say, it was less crowded. It may have been because it was off-season and it was raining on/off.

Exploring the Streets of Lucca, Italy

How to Spend a day in Florence, Italy

Thinking of visiting Florence, Italy for one day? We provide 3 itinerary options to inspire your day in Florence. Take a food tour, visit the Uffizi, or explore the Duomo. See why it is one of our favorite cities in the world.

What to do in Lucca: Eat Pizza

Our first order of business was coffee. I needed an espresso… and a bathroom.  Many of the shops were still closed. We happen to find a pizza place that had just opened.

They were in the midst of making their first pie of the day. By the time we finished savoring our espresso, the first fresh pizza of the day had emerged from the oven. As the pizza man was slicing the pie and the aroma of basil, cheese, and tomatoes taunted us, hubby and I looked at each other.

Guess what we were thinking? Of course, we were thinking of having the first slice of the day.

Next thing you know, we were both scarfing down a slice. It was the PERFECT mid-morning snack.

What am I suggesting? Instead of quickly trying to knock things off your list of things to see,  stop and smell the pizza… and then eat a slice! It will be well worth it!

We had about 5 hours or so left to explore. We did so leisurely, some times having to run and find shelter from the rain that kept coming and going. This is how we found St. Martin’s Cathedral.

St. Martin’s Cathedral

There is always a church to visit and in Lucca, Italy, it is St. Martin’s Cathedral. It is located in the center of the old city and in front of Piazza St. Martin.  

I absolutely love Gothic architecture and this church is a mix of Gothic and Romanesque architecture. I sat in the middle of the pews and just took it all in.

Peek of St. Martins's church

St. Martin’s Cathedral | Piazza Antelminelli, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy (Google Map It) | Tripadvisor

Climb Torre Guinigi

inside Guinigi tower lots of stairs

One of the top attractions and sights that stayed with me while researching about Lucca is the Guinigi Tower. It’s one of the tallest towers in Lucca and it has oak trees planted at the top of it. I thought that was interesting. How many towers have you visited with oak trees at the top?

As you approach this tower, be forewarned that there is a good chance you will be very distracted by a wonderful smell that will instantly make you hungry and that’s all you’re going to think about on your way up.

When you make it to the top, you will be greeted with a 360º view of the city of Lucca. You will finally get to see holm oak trees that are planted and growing strongly in the garden.

It is a tight fit up there. So please be conscious of that. It can be difficult to walk around and you can easily block the small space. Be mindful of others.

The day we were there, it wasn’t busy, but there were a few people that parked in their spot and rudely thought it was okay to not let others pass by. I’m not sure how they control the crowds during the busy season.

City view of Lucca, Italy

Fun fact: Did you know that families used to compete to have the tallest tower? I have a feeling this is why the Guinigi family added a garden of trees.

Guinigi Tower | Via Sant’Andrea, 45, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy (Google Map It) | TripAdvisor
Cost: 4€ to enter & climb to the top

Naples to Capri, Italy in a Day

Is your cruise docking in Naples, Italy for a day? Take the ferry to Capri, taste limoncello, enjoy a chair lift up to Mount Solaro, and don’t forget a boat tour. See how to get to Capri from Naples and what to do on this Italian island.

San Giusto Church

San Giusto Church Lucca Italy
Love the architecture here.

We didn’t enter this charming 12th-century church as it was closed. The ornate baroque architecture is worth a visit. If open, I wouldn’t miss taking a peek inside.

San Giusto Church | Corte del Biancone, 5, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy (Google Map It) | TripAdvisor

Piazza Anfiteatro

red bike leaning against the stone wall and next to a wide arch that leads into a view of Piazza Anfiteatro in Lucca

The main square in the old city of Lucca is Piazza Antiteatro. It is in the heart of Lucca and built on an ancient Roman amphitheater.

Here you’ll find lots of restaurants, cafes, and unique shops. It’s a great spot to sit, relax, and grab an espresso. This is what we did and it was a nice break from exploring.

Piazza Anfiteatro | Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy (Google Map It) | TripAdvisor

The Old City Wall

If there is one thing you should do in Lucca that is to take a stroll or ride a bike on the city wall. We left the wall towards the end of our day when we were heading back to our car. I really wished we had more time.

Tour Inspiration: Book Here a Guided Tour of Lucca

Interesting Find: Canal of Lucca, Italy

small canal in the middle of the walled city of Lucca, Italy

From all the things to do in Lucca, I didn’t expect to come across a canal. It was a nice little find as we were strolling this European city. It’s a charming mini canal in the middle of the historic city of Lucca.

Tasty Itinerary: Where to Grab a Bite?

Forno F. Casali

fresh-baked loaves of bread and a sandwich from one of the best bakeries in Lucca, Italy

Remember the delicious smell that had us distracted while visiting Guinigi Tower? Well after leaving the tower, the aroma pulled us in its direction and we found this amazing bakery. I almost didn’t share it and wanted to keep it a secret, but that smell of heavenly baked goodness will pull you in.

According to a local getting their fix for the day, this bakery makes the best focaccia. Now, because everything looked amazing and my mouth was watering, we believed her.

We decided to share a sandwich for lunch on their fresh-baked focaccia. And boy, it definitely was one of the best focaccia bread we ever had.

It was the perfect lunch.

Sit at a Cafe

The tart was filled with Nutella. It was amazing!

We were ready for another round of coffee and some sweets. We found a corner cafe without outdoor seating, ordered two cappuccinos and a few treats.

Tour Inspiration: Book Here a Bike and Food Tour

How to Get to Lucca, Italy?

On Your Own Transportation Options

Car Rental

If you enjoy having the freedom of driving wherever you want, make stops along the way, and the option of changing your itinerary on a whim, I recommend a car rental for an easy day trip to Lucca, Italy.

It’s also the best way to explore Tuscany as long as you feel comfortable driving. This is an option available from Livorno or even Florence for the day. We are fans of Avis.

Driving to this city from either Livorno or Florence is definitely much quicker than taking the train.

Train

From Livorno Cruise Port

First, you have to take the shuttle from the cruise terminal into the town of Livorno. From the drop off point, you will walk about 20 mins to the Livorno Centrale Railway Station. Note, if you choose this route, the train will also stop in Pisa, where you will have to make a change to another train. The train ride all together is about 1 hr 05 min.

From Florence

Take a train from Stazione di Santa Maria Novella and transfer in Pisa. Train ride all together is about 1 hr 50 min.

Tip: Book your tickets in advance. Click here for train times and info.

Tour Options

Now, we do our fair share of train rides, but when driving time amounts to less time public transportation, we will look into tours or drivers. You also may be more comfortable with a tour.

Here are some tour ideas:

  • Round-Trip Transfer Service to Lucca and Pisa from Livorno [book here]
  • Pisa and Lucca Day Trip from Florence [book here]
  • Private Half-Day Excursion to Lucca from Florence [book here]

I Love Lucca, Italy

In the short amount of time we were there, Lucca became a place we imagined ourselves living in one day. To the point, that hubby started talking to locals about real estate, the economy, their day-to-day lives and what they thought about the city they called home.

I laughed when quite a few said to us, “it’s funny because Americans want to l live here and yet we would love to be in America.” That’s not to say they didn’t love their home country, just that they were as interested in how we live in the States as we are in living in Italy.

Of course, it still boggles my mind… who wouldn’t want to live in Italy? Politics aside, with beautiful European towns like Lucca, rich with amazing architecture and history and possibly one of the best cuisines in the world, it’s a match made in heaven for me and hubby.

We met a really nice lady from Canada that owned property there and migrated a few times a year. Seriously, I loved the joy on her face as she told us all about how much she loves it there that she ended up buying a property. Talk about GOALS.


What do you think about Lucca, Italy? Did you add it to your Tuscany road trip? What is one of the things to do in Lucca you are looking forward to?


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A Day trip to Lucca, Italy

When I’m not daydreaming about my next vacation, drinking coffee, or playing with my dogs, you can find me on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook for more posts and stories! Would love to hear from you!

10 thoughts on “An Easy Day Trip to Lucca: Things to do in Lucca, Italy”

  1. “Stop and smell the pizza.” I am in stitches. Girl, that is my favorite picture EVER of you. I love it. That should be your new profile picture for everything. 200% YOU and what you are about. You might love your pizza more than Lauren. I hope she sees this and comments lol!

    I’m actually so glad that you wrote this post. As you already know, we visited Lucca–but we didn’t see most of this. You brought me back to Lucca. Thank you! And, you showed me even more.

    For us: We happened to be on this awesome tour of Tuscany (wine tasting in Chianti as part of it, whoo hoooo!). Our guide had moved to Italy years ago and told us about Lucca. We decided to skip the lines of everything in Florence (like the Uffizi–David be damned) and head to Lucca to see these famous walls. Our guide had won us over at the sound of bike riding. We looked at train timetables and were outta there.

    We ate some amazing salted fish in town, hit the local bike shop, and then we rented two bikes for half the day. We spent all of our time riding along the walls. One of my favorite travel memories of all time. As you know, the background is stunning. It’s super romantic too.

    I love that you went in the fall. I can only begin to imagine how beautiful it looked with the foliage. Loving that picture too.

    We didn’t go inside any of the cathedrals, so I am thrilled to see you did; I had no idea that most of that was there. I was such a sucker for lovers’-trysts-spying on those sexy walls.

    We, too, stopped for espresso. It’s a must. Plus, you have to people watch.

    That little street art is SO cute and 100% correct. I’m also drooling over that sandwich!

    P.S. I love the new blog theme. Blessing in disguise. Love the IG widget! Your shirt ad is perfection, and how the heck did you get these adorable dotted lines for your comment box? It’s amazing. I know how hard you worked–and it paid off. LOVE IT!!!

    Gotta run. Blogging bestie pinning time. And time to tweet it. HEHE.

    I want more from you. What’s next? The upcoming island trip? (Don’t want to out you here lol).

    XXOO

    Reply
    • Um, I may now need to change my profile because you said so. I love that picture too. Thank you, hubby!

      I LOVE the spontaneity in your story. Instead of wondering what all the fuss was about Lucca, you took control and bought train tickets. Go you! Seriously, that’s what travel is about. Sometimes you just gotta forget your plans and go. I love the sound of bike riding on the city wall, and you know me, I am not a bike rider but I’d totally bike here. Next time. Also love how casual your day in Lucca went, not in a hurry to see everything but simply enjoying a small part of it.

      I saw your comment on Twitter about church fatigue and can totally relate because I feel like this half the time on these trips. I normally refuse to go in and then I’m forced in for some reason, like this time it was rain. Then I was pleasantly surprised at the interior. I do love architecture and that’s what I like going to the cathedrals for. And, Hubby likes to light candles lol

      Thank you for your blog comments. Still working on it and honestly going to slowly build another theme on the side because I can’t figure out how to make edits to things like my shop. It’s driving me crazy. BUT, I will tell you that I got these dots by investing in the Design Pro Palette for Genesis and was able to format things like these boxes lol. Was it worth the money? I don’t think so. Was it worth my time? Sure.

      Writing about Nice, France next! Don’t think it will be a long post though lol

      Btw: I will give the award of who loves pizza the most to Lauren. She wins! Hands down! My love for pizza in Italy will always be forever. Pizza + Italy = ❤

      Reply
  2. Ahhhhhhh!!! I love your posts SO much!! I love feeling like I’m there while reading. Looks so beautiful! That tunnel looks so cool. What a great way to enter a town.
    And haha when you mentioned a wonderful smell I was like What was it!? Tell me! Don’t leave me hanging! Seriously, I almost (illogically)thought you might forget to say. Breeeaaaaaad!! It’s the best smell ever. I used to have a commute to work where I passed a bakery and was taunted by that smell.
    I want that focaccia! If you guys move to Lucca, I’m visiting!!! We’ll eat all the pizza, focaccia bread, drink all the espresso and did you say Nutella tart? God! Amazing!

    Reply
    • Haha, you’re so funny! I meant to leave you hanging so you would keep reading. Glad you did and found out what it was. Seriously, the aroma was so distracting. I even forgot to take pictures of the tower because I just wanted to follow the smell. It was soo good! We seriously load up on carbs when we’re in Italy.

      We have big dreams of spending lots of time in Italy in the future. Let’s see how that pans out. And of course, you can tag along! The more, the merrier! Wine, focaccia and pizza for all!

      Reply
  3. I want to eat everything and see everything now! I can almost smell that Foccacia baking. I know that when I finally make it to Italy I will be coming to you for advice! Your trips always look amazing, and I like to eat my way around a new place like you do.

    By the way, your new blog theme looks amazing!

    Reply
    • You’re so sweet! Hope you make it to Italy soon and don’t hesitate to ask. If I don’t know, I will gladly point you to the right blogs to check. Like Jella’s (AsianaCircus), she has blogged about some amazing finds in Italy. I can’t wait to get back and personally explore her tips.

      Means so much to me that you stopped by and commented. Thanks for the blog theme love! I’ve been literally pulling my hair out with it and go back and forth between loving it and hating it. I guess the pipdig saga was a good thing in the end.

      Reply
  4. I am so so glad that you posted this. We are going back to Italy in November and we’ve never been to Tuscany and I want to go somewhere different. This place seems amazing. And the info is invaluable and the pics, amazeballs. I agree, that picture is super cute! Also, you had me at pizza that is my favorite food in the world and Italy is my favorite place. I can’t wait to visit Lucca. This post could not have come ata better time as we are making our travel plans now.
    Xo

    Reply
    • Hi Dee! I’m so excited for your trip to Italy and I can’t wait to read all about it. Italy is my favorite place in the world and I absolutely love hearing about it from other people’s POV and learning of new places to explore and eat.

      Lucca was so nice! I really love the vibe there. I didn’t get to explore it as much as I wanted to with the limited time, but I hope you do.

      Have fun on your trip and let me know when you post!

      Reply
  5. Spent several days in Lucca spring 2019. Hubby and I were on a tour of France and Italy and Lucca was one of our favorite towns. We had pizza by the slice and had the best meal at a small osteria. Wandered around on the walls and saw the little canal. Watched a artist build a sand sculpture in the square and families out in the evening. Much slower pace than Florence-Just lovely

    Reply
    • Your time in Lucca sounds so incredible. It’s exactly how I’d love to spend my time in Lucca the next time we are there for a longer length of time. We have done that in Florence, but it is definitely busier there than Lucca. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. Now I’m missing Italy all over again. Can’t wait to return.

      Reply

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