A treasure of Tuscany, Lucca is a remarkable city which has preserved its historical architecture and Renaissance spirit. It is famous for its massive 16th century wall which encircles the city; originally constructed for defense, it was transformed into a tree-lined avenue which offers a spectacular pedestrian walkway over its entirety. A fiercely independent state, Lucca played a crucial role in the 6th century serving as a fortress against invading powers. We will meander its cobblestone streets, alleyways, churches, towers and squares including: Piazza dell' Anfiteatro, Church of San Michele in Foro, Basilica di San Frediano, Piazza Napoleone, St. Martin's Cathedral, the tomb of Ilaria del Carreto and the Volto Santo. For the discerning tourist in Tuscany, Lucca is the optimal destination with its rich, detailed history and slow-paced atmosphere.
The birthplace of Giacomo Puccini, part-time host of Dante's exile and taken over by Napoleon who named his sister its Queen, Lucca has a fascinating history and the city abounds with historical tales. Known as the "City of a hundred churches", Lucca is famous for its thick well-kept, tree-lined city walls. Although the city limits have expanded slightly beyond the boundaries of the walls, the beauty of the ancient heart of the city has been preserved for centuries. For the tour, we meet within the walls at Piazza Napoleone, the most popular square in the city. Some attractions on this trip include St. Martin's Cathedral, a Romanesque building which hosts the tomb of Ilaria del Carreto and the Volto Santo, the most precious relic in Lucca. Our tour guide will share the legend of St. Martin's facades− explaining why all four columns are a different design. We will then travel through the center of town life and thriving energy, Piazza dell' Anfiteatro, to the Church of San Michele in Foro, which has one of the most brilliant facades in all of Italy. Finally we will visit the Basilica di San Frediano, a church named after an Irish bishop of Lucca. The basilica is carved entirely out of white marble and its facade is bedecked with a captivating thirteenth century mosaic. Within its walls is the shrine to Santa Zita, Lucca's patron saint whose mummified body is brought out into the public twice a year so that the devout may lay hands on her. Combining rich history with genuine small town Tuscan atmosphere, this tour of Lucca invites you to be immersed in the Italian energy of its coiling cobblestone streets.