Plan your visit

Make the most of your visit at Lucca Biennale by discovering the wonderful area around Lucca, an area full of history, art, culture, with both sea and mountains close by. Lucca is on a plain at the foot of the Apuan Alps and less than half an hour from the Versilia coast.

 

What to see in Lucca

The walls of Lucca are the first thing that catches the eye when you arrive in the city: 12 metres high, 30 metres wide and about 4 km long, the walls are a beautiful tree-lined promenade where you can walk, work out, or enjoy the wonderful view. A good way to visit the walls of the city is by hiring a bike at one of the numerous shops available. The walls are to be admired not only for their architectural beauty, but also for their uniqueness: they're the only example of defensive walls that have lasted intact up until today.

Lucca is the city of towers, for this reason you must visit the tower that symbolizes the city: Torre Guinigi, 45 metres high, has a garden of beautiful ancient holm oaks on top, a wondeful shade after having climbed up 230 steps.

The Piazza Anfiteatro, an ideal place for open air aperitifs and markets, is one of the most beautiful squares in Italy. Recognizable from its circular shape, apparently closed but with four access archs, it connects directly to Via Fillungo, the main shopping street.

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There are many churches in Lucca (it's known as the city of 100 churches), particularly worthy of a visit is the Duomo di San Martino (inside there are two extraordinary pieces: a monument to Ilaria del Carretto created by Jacopo della Quercia, and an ancient crucifix called Volto Santo, said to represent the real face of Christ). After the Duomo di San Martino, the two most important churches are San Michele (on its facade there is the Archangel Michael killing the Dragon) and San Frediano (with a beautiful mosaic facade, that hosts the mummified body of Santa Zita).

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What to see in the area

There's something for everyone: from cultural visits to sports activities, from mountains to the beach, from relaxing in nature to nightlife on the beach.

The Lucca Plane hosts the famous Lucca Villas (historical residencies, enriched by elegant gardens and fountains: such as Villa Grabau, Villa Bernardini, Villa Mansi, Villa Oliva e Villa Camigliano) and medieval castles (such as Castello di Nozzano, la fortezza di Montecarlo, il Castello di Altopascio).

Following the river Serchio that runs through the city, you can reach beautiful medieval towns such as Borgo a Mozzano (known for the Devil's Bridge), Barga and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana. The Garfagnana area, about an hour's drive North of Lucca, is full of natural landscapes and mountain paths, including mountains such as the Apuan Alps and the Tuscan-Emilian Appenines. In the area you can hike in the hills, do rafting, canyoning, climbing, visit caves and much more.

For those who love the sea, the Versilia coast is less than half an hour's drive from Lucca, full of beaches and night clubs, ranging from Viareggio to Forte dei Marmi. For the classical music lovers, you can also visit Giacomo Puccini's villa on the stunning Lake of Massaciuccoli.

Other beautiful cities are easily reachable: Pisa is 20 km away, and Florence is 70 km away.

 

How to get to Lucca

Lucca is easy to reach by car and by public transport. The city center can be easily visited on foot or by bicycle (easy to hire in some of the central hire shops).

By car
Lucca is easy to reach by car, as it is on the motorway that connects Florence to Pisa and the Versilia coast, called the A11 Firenze - Mare. Wether you are coming from North or South, you need to take the A11 and exit at Lucca east or west (both exits are about 1 km from the city center). Coming from the coast, it's a good idea to take the Viareggio highway that connects the A12 Genova - Roma directly to Lucca (called the Bretella). If your at Pisa or Florence airport and have hired a car, follow indications for the A11. Careful when it comes to driving in Lucca: within the walls there is no access allowed for non residents, and a risk of fines!

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Train
The easiest way to get to Lucca is by train, saving you from the stress of traffic and parking. Lucca station is less than 5 minutes walk from Porta San Pietro, an access to the city center. It's on the railway line that connects Florence to Viareggio and Pisa, so there are many trains. From Pisa it takes about 15-20 minutes, from Florence it takes about 1h and 20 minutes, and from Viareggio about 20 minutes. To check train times and tickets, please see the Trenitalia website HERE.

Bus
The bus station in Lucca is in Piazzale Verdi, inside the walls. The most frequent trips are to Florence, Pisa and Viareggio. The trip by bus takes longer than it does by train, and can sometimes be more expensive. The service is run by Vaibus, you can check times and tickets HERE.

Airplane
The nearest airports are Pisa (30 mins by train) and Florence (1 h and 20 minutes by train). Pisa Airport has a train that leaves directly from the terminal, and there are also taxis and buses available from there. From Florence airport there are taxis and buses avaialble to get to Lucca.

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Where to stay

Lucca has many accommodation possibilities but it also receives a lot of requests, so we advise you book your accommodation well ahead of time.

Click the button below to request a discounted stay with a partner of Lucca Biennale!

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What and where to eat

Lucca cuisine is typical Tuscan cooking tradition. Poor, genuine, with local produce, among the first courses we reccommend you try soups, such as the ones with beans or spelt. You should also try Farinata (chickpea pie), Tordelli (typical pasta with a filling) and vegetable casseroles. Among the main courses we reccommend rabbit stew, salted cod (Baccalà) with chickpeas, and above all, Rovelline, sliced beef breaded and fried with a tomato and caper sauce. Among the local typical desserts are Buccellato (bread with anaseed and raisins), Castagnaccio (chestnut flour, with nuts, pinenuts, orange, raisins, rosemary and oil), and Necci (pancakes made with chestnut flour and Ricotta cheese).

Soon a list of partnered restaurants will be available.

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Viale Giovanni Pacini, 75 - 55100 Lucca - Italy
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