Local pottery shop
We came across this lovely shop by accident in Lucca. We managed to buy a few small items ideal to carry home but there is a wide range to choose from. It can be found in Via Calderia.
A little gem in Lucca
The Palazzo Pfanner is well worth a visit. For a few euros you can visit the house and/or the beautiful, peaceful garden, with its fountain, statues of gods and goddesses, colourful flowerbeds and terracotta pots containing lemon trees.
Walk the walls of Lucca
admiring the Lucchesi families as they promenade on a Sunday afternoon and admire the 68 churches within the walls.
Be sure to visit Pisa for the day.
Its numerous piazzas and narrow streets, lined with lovely buildings, are sometimes ignored as people flock to the main attraction, the leaning tower, which you can now climb up. Don't overlook the other beautiful buildings on the Piazza dei Miracoli: the Duomo and the Baptistry, as well as the Camposanto.
Explore the Serchio valley north of Lucca,
which takes you on towards the Apuan Alps, and the Garfagnana National Park. Ideal for walkers and nature lovers.
For an alternative view of Lucca...
Hire a bike and cycle along the city walls, about 4 km in total.
Go on a mini tour of the magnificent Lucchesi villas
that are in the area. These beautiful Tuscan houses are often open to the public, and boast splendid formal gardens and gorgeous interiors. Head for Villa Torrigiani in Camigliano, Villa Reale in Marlia and Villa Mansi.
Highly recommended is the trip to Carrara
to view the marble quarries and marvel at the way it is mined. Return via Pietrasanta and visit the stonemasons' yards and watch them at work transforming marble into yet another copy of the statue of David in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence (which is itself a copy!)
Wander around Lucca
The historic walled town of Lucca is only a short distance from Il Ciocchetto. The beautiful streets and buildings make it a pleasure to wander around. Have a coffee in one of the piazzas or wander down the cobbled streets, popping in and out of the boutiques and specialist shops.
Follow the road along the valley of the Serchio,
to visit the lovely medieval town of Barga, in the heart of the Garfagnana region. En route, it is more or less compulsory to stop and photograph the Ponte della Maddalena, better known as Devil's Bridge
A day out on the beach is a must!
There are plenty to choose from; hire a sun lounger and parasol and you are set for the day.
Cross the river from Barga and go to the underground caverns
of the Grotto del Vento with its fabulous curtain stalactites, and 1, 2 or 3 hour explorations of the caves with an English speaking guide
Take the train
from Lucca to Florence - they run every ½ hour from Lucca and the journey takes approx 1 ½ hrs. It's an easy, relaxing way to reach this beautiful, magical city. Remember to validate your ticket at one of the machines on the platform entrance.
If you drive into Florence, follow signs to Piazzale Michelangelo
Not only will you find free parking in this square, it is also the spot where you will have the most fantastic view over Florence. A short walk down the hill takes you to the Ponte Vecchio, over the river and into the heart of the city. Go early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds!
A 'must do' on anyone's list is to experience the 'passeggiata'.
In any town or large village, especially on a weekend or holiday, the inhabitants will congregate in the main square in the early evening, to promenade around, talk to their friends, have an aperitif or ice cream, before dispersing for dinner. It is the perfect time to people watch, especially somewhere like Lucca.
Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi, Lido di Camaiore
are the nearest coastal resorts with sandy beaches, long promenades and lots of hustle and bustle. During the summer, they are filled with Italians enjoying the sun and sea. Take a stroll on the new, state of the art pier at Lido de Camaiore and enjoy wonderful views both out to sea and inland towards the Apuan Alps.
Children in the party will enjoy
spending an afternoon at the Pinocchio Park in Collodi, towards Florence. The author of 'The Adventures of Pinocchio' took the name of the town (his mother's home town) as his pseudonym. The park celebrates the author and the stories and is a magical place for children.
Go to the various music festivals that take place throughout the year.
Lucca’s Summer Sun festival in July attracts performers such as Elton John, Mick Hucknall, Sheryl Crow & Leonard Cohen. For classical music fans, there is the Puccini Opera festival at Torre del Lago in September, and Barga hosts an excellent Opera Festival from mid July to mid August.
Take a boat trip from Viareggio
They go along the coast passing Lerici and the gulf of La Spezia to the coastal villages of the Cinque Terre.
When in Florence, head for the Piazza San Spirito
if you want somewhere quiet to eat. Cross the Ponte Vecchio and turn right and you will soon arrive in the square. Popular with the locals, there are some good restaurants there, away from the tourist traps!
Spend a day in Bagni di Lucca
a lovely old spa town. There are shops, cafes and a small children's play park, as well as the spa itself where you can indulge in some treatments.
Enjoy an evening out in Viareggio
Walk along the sea front, which will be bustling with Italians (all looking very chic!), stop for an aperitif and then choose from one of the many restaurants along the front for dinner on the beach.
Shop at the market
for some fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, salami and bread and then come home to have a leisurely al fresco lunch, followed by a siesta.
Have you visited Il Ciocchetto?
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