Lucca, Italy

I’ve always wanted to ride a bike around the ancient wall that surrounds Lucca, Italy and, in 2022, it finally happened. Visiting Lucca for us was a day trip from Florence, which was our base in September for a few weeks. I highly recommend checking out Lucca-it’s a very special place!

Upon arrival, we headed toward the city wall that is directly opposite the train station. You can veer left and go through the city gates or go straight forward and climb some steps to get up to the top of the wall. There is a smooth concrete path for walking and bike riding that loops around the city atop the wall. We walked for awhile and then found a cafe on the trail to get water and use the toliets. Then down a ramp to the M bike rental where you could get bike carts or single bikes, both electric and manual. The carts were cute but the dream was to pedal a bike so we got them for $4 euros for an hour and off we went with the map they provided. If you don’t stop at all, you can pedal around the wall one time in about 30 minutes. But, of course, along the way there are so many beautiful buildings and countryside vistas that you’ll want to stop and take pictures. They do send you off with a bike lock if you want to secure the bike and leave it for awhile.

Equipped with my handy bell to warn walkers as I passed them, we safely maneuvered all the way around the city enjoying every minute of this special experience. After turning in our bikes and getting back Thom’s drivers license that they kept as security to guarantee you would return the bikes, we wandered off down Lucca’s quaint streets. Every building was beautifully preserved and picture worthy. In addition to the usually tourist stores, there were high end shops and vintage stores. Be prepared to shop!

Finally stopping for a bite to eat and rest our feet, I saw an unusual pizza shaped item which turned out to be chickpea flatbread, which is vegan and glutenfree. My version was onion but they had onion and zucchini too. Paired with the always good and cheap house wine, it was delicious and I can’t wait to recreate it when we return home.

If you are thinking of going to Lucca and are a lover of music, they have a summer music festival featuring a wide variety of global and local artists. I’m sure Lucca gets really crowded and all housing sells out during this festival but, if you book in advance, it could be magical. More info here: Summer Festival (luccasummerfestival.it)

GETTING THERE

It’s a quick two-hour trip by train from Florence to Lucca. I would never rent a car in Italy (cost, crazy drivers, narrow roads-so many reasons why!). Travelling by train is so easy and fun. Bring a snack and let the conductor do all the driving while you relax and gaze at the beautiful Italian scenery. More train details here.

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