Two Nights in Lucca, Italy

Two Nights in Lucca, Italy

Based on everything I had seen and heard about Lucca, I always figured that I would really like the city. The second we drove in past the ancient walls, I fell in love. Everything is picture-perfect, as if you’re traveling through an Italian movie set, but the people, food, music and art are as genuine as it gets.

The city of Lucca is now surrounded by two ancient walls. The first (and original) wall was built during Roman times and was later completely replaced during the medieval ages. This wall is still standing, along with a second wall that was built during the Renaissance that was completed in 1650.

There is much to see and do in Lucca, with lots of restaurants, a wide variety of stores including upscale chains and local artisanal shops, and different art exhibits and musical performances to check out. We lucked out and wound up catching the tail end of Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” as we were heading to dinner our first night in town. We could hear the powerful vocals from three streets away and followed them to the Chiesa di San Giovanni (Saint John’s Church) on Via Del Duomo. The church holds concerts most nights of the week and the experience is unforgettable. Also, make sure to do a loop around Lucca both in daylight and at night. There is something very magical about the city after dark, especially the Torre Guinigi (Guinigi Tower), a Roman-Gothic tower with giant oak trees at the top of it. What a sight!

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WHERE WE STAYED:
Palazzo Tucci
Address: Via Cesare Battisti, Lucca LU, Italy
Phone: +39 0583 464279

Palazzo Tucci, while beautiful, is also one of the few hotels that has parking within Lucca’s ancient walls. Beyond the hotel’s convenient accessibility and location, the rooms are spacious and the staff is welcoming and informative. From the minute I booked my reservation months before our stay,  Anna from the hotel was emailing me to make sure they had everything about our reservation just right for when my family and I arrived. When we got there, we were greeted outside our car and escorted upstairs to a gorgeous mural-filled room. Breakfast is included with your stay and all of the city’s main attractions (and then some!) are easily within walking distance.

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OUR BEST MEAL:
Ristorante Giglio
Address: Via del Giglio, 2, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy
Phone:+39 0583 494058

I cannot stress just how fantastic this restaurant was. The. Food. Was. Incredible. When we sat down at an outdoor table looking out at the piazza, we were immediately greeted with glasses of Prosecco and miniature ceramic cups of a sophisticated version of the most delicious tomato soup I’d ever tried. For my meal, I had the Risotto alla parmigiana con riduzione di Chianti (Parmigian risotto with a Chianti wine reduction) which was one of the tastiest things I’d ever tried. (I can’t imagine why I’m suddenly starving while writing this.) The flavors were so intense that there was no need to add even the slightest pinch of salt. The sweetness of the reduced wine paired perfectly with the sharpness of the parmigian and the creamy rice dish melted away with every bite. The carnivores at the table had the Bistecca alla fiorentina (Steak Florentine) and both men, my husband and father, said it was hands down, the best steak they had ever tasted. Even though they shared the entree, it took some work for the two of them to finish the giant 24-ounce piece of meat. Nonetheless, a job well done!

Ristorante Giglio

Before the end of the dinner, there was no way we were leaving Ristorante Giglio without ordering dessert. We all shared the Gelato al pistacchio di Bronte “Cremeria Opera” (Pistachio ice cream served with an insanely rich delicious warm dark chocolate cake without any regrets. Bottom line- if you’re visiting Lucca and want the best of the best in a sit-down meal, you must try Ristorante Giglio!

FUN FOR THE KIDS:

While our kids had a great time throughout our 3 day stay in Lucca, the highlight for them was definitely the horse-drawn carriage ride we took from our hotel. You will likely see the horses trotting through town with wide-eyed visitors, but if not, be sure to ask your hotel receptionist to call one of the tour guides for you. Even if you aren’t traveling with children, one of these rides is a must…there is no better or more romantic way to see the city!

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A traveler since childhood, Juliana has always had a love for exploring. She is a published writer and an accomplished business owner with a background in music and art.
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