On a Walking Tour of Lucca discover the beautiful Italian city, with its medieval city walls, historic centre and delicious food.
This walk starts from Lucca Train Station on the southern edge of town. It’s 1hr20 on a direct train from Florence, 30 minutes from Pisa, and about 1 hour from La Spezia on the edge of the Cinque Terre.
Lucca Walking Tour Map
Get the route by downloading the .gpx or .kml file below. For navigation with Maps.me on your mobile phone, simply download the .kml file and open to add it to the Maps.me bookmarks.
Tips for Lucca Walking Tour
- A few sights in Lucca close from early November to mid-March.
- In early November there’s a large Comics and Games Event in Lucca. This dominates the town and is not the best time to visit unless you’re going to the festival.
- Osteria Da Pasquale* is a great restaurant, Vinni Liquori Vanni* is a good place for wine, and try the delicious focaccia at Forno a Vapore Amedeo Giusti*.
- Check out other walks on our Italy Hiking Page.
Top Sights in Lucca
On this self-guided walking tour you’ll see the main sites and attractions of Lucca. One day is the perfect amount of time to spend in Lucca.
- The City Walls
- Lucca Cathedral
- Church of San Giovanni & Santa Reparata
- Piazza Napoleone
- Chiesa di San Michele in Foro
- Puccini Museum
- Torre delle Ore
- Domus Romana
- Pfanner Palace
- Basilica of San Frediano
- Piazza dell Anfiteatro
- Guinigi Tower
This is a self-guided walking tour of Lucca, though there’s a great guided walking tour of Lucca* which visits several of the same sights.
Lucca Walking Tour Route
This walking tour starts from Lucca Train Station.
Directions: From the train station, cross over the large road towards the impressive city walls. Follow the path behind the stone bastion and walk up the steps onto Lucca City Walls.
1. The City Walls
Walking along Lucca City Walls* is a highlight of any trip to the city. The entire loop is just over 4km and you get great views over the city roofs. You can see all of the medieval defensive towers in Lucca that still exist, including the Torre del Ore and Torre Guinigi, both of which feature later on this walking tour. An alternative to walking is to hire a bike*, which is a fun way to explore Lucca and the city walls. If you do rent a bike, cycling along the Acquedotto del Nottolini (see below) is another fun option.
There are many on and off-ramps to leave the walls, and several shady benches to relax on while walking. It can be a little crowded at weekends, especially in summer. It’s best to walk around in the early morning when it’s cool, the light is the best and there are fewer people.
Lucca City Walls are actually not that ancient but were built in the 16th century as town defences against the rival cities of Genoa, Florence and Pisa. They’re 12 metres high and in places 30 metres thick. There are several bastions and town gates in the wall to look out for as you walk around. Also don’t miss peeking into the Botanical Gardens soon after you join the wall and the gardens of the Palazzo Pfanner around the other side.
Leaving the Walls
Directions: Once you’ve completed an entire circuit, leave the wall down the steps on the inner side. Before heading to the cathedral, head right around the road to the Church of Saint Mary della Rosa.
The Church of Saint Mary della Rosa is an old, Gothic church from the 13th century that incorporates part of the much earlier Roman city wall. It has a beautiful facade on the street side, and the inside is very atmospheric. You can see the large stone blocks of the ancient Roman wall forming the left side of the church.
Directions: Head back to where you left the wall and through the grassy square to walk around to the front of Lucca Cathedral.
2. Lucca Cathedral (Cathedral of San Martino)
Key Information: Entrance to the main cathedral is €3. Open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12-6pm.
Lucca cathedral (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is a must-see in Lucca. It has a beautiful Romanesque facade with delicate arches and carved black and white stripey columns. It was rebuilt in the 13th century on top of a previous church. Its bell tower predates the main cathedral, which explains why it’s built out of completely different material and looks a bit funny.
Inside, make sure to check out the sculpture on the right, the famous 13-century carving of St Martin (after whom the cathedral is named) and the beggar. The story goes that Martin (a soldier) cut off part of his cloak and gave it to a beggar he saw freezing by the wayside. This act of charity led him to have visions of Jesus, convert to Christianity and eventually become a saint.
The cathedral’s most valuable treasure is the Volto Santo, a carving of Christ on the Cross. This is carried through the streets of Lucca every year in a religious procession in September. It’s also worth checking out the pulpit and the impressive stained glass windows.
There’s a combination ticket for the Cathedral and Church of San Giovanni & Santa Reparata. This ticket is €10 and allows you into all the attractions within both churches. For the cathedral, it includes entrance to the main cathedral (€3), the bell tower (€3) and the museum (€4). For the Church of San Giovanni & Santa Reparata it includes entrance to both the church, belltower and archaeological exhibit (€4).
We just went to the main cathedral and Church of San Giovanni & Santa Reparata church, belltower and archaeological exhibit, so it was cheaper to buy individual tickets. Entrance to the church automatically includes the tower, and there are several other towers in town to go up, so the cathedral tower is not really worth it. We always find cathedral museums fairly boring so didn’t visit that either.
Directions: At the far end of the square from the Cathedral is the next church.
3. Church of San Giovanni & Santa Reparata
Key Information: It costs €4 to enter the main church, archaeological exhibit and bell tower. Alternatively, see the Combination Ticket. Open 10am-6pm every day.
Church and Baptistery of San Giovanni and Santa Reparata (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is another church with a white front and a tower close to the cathedral. The church dates as far back as the 4th century but is now deconsecrated.
The church itself is not that interesting, but you can head underneath the church to find Roman ruins and mosaic floors. These are from a Roman Villa and thermal baths from the first century that a later church was built on top of. The excavations are particularly interesting since you can see how the layers of history are built up.
The church bell tower is definitely worth climbing up as there are fantastic views over the city. You can see many of the places visited on this Lucca walking tour from the top. Don’t miss the famous Puccini operas* performed here every day in summer and Thu-Sun in winter.
Directions: From the church, head down a small alley at the back of the square to a large square.
4. Piazza Napoleone
Piazza Napoleone is a lovely, large square in the centre of Lucca, surrounded by many impressive buildings. Festivals are often held here, and there are several cafes dotting the edges of the square. Buildings fronting the square to look for include the Ducale Palace (you can walk through the archway into the peaceful courtyard) and the Giglio Theatre.
Directions: Leave the Piazza Napoleone in the far corner, heading north to the beautiful, busy square surrounding the next church.
5. Chiesa di San Michele in Foro (Church of San Michele)
Key Information: Open 9am-5pm weekdays, 9am-6pm Fri-Sun. Free entry.
San Michele in Foro* is a historic church in the centre of Lucca. It’s over 1000 years old, from around 795AD. It’s not surprising that it’s often mistaken for the cathedral since it’s big and white and dominates the square. The facade is the most impressive part of the church, carved in marble with a carving of Archangel Michael sitting at the top and looking over the square. The exterior is more impressive than the interior, with the most interesting object inside being a saint mummified in a glass coffin beneath the altar.
Directions: If you want to visit the Puccini Museum, leave the square down the narrow alley opposite the church. The ticket office for the museum is in the next little square, while the museum itself is in the house at the corner on the right.
6. Museo Puccini
Key Information: Tickets are €9. The museum is open all year round, but closed on Tuesdays Oct-Mar. It opens at 10am and closes from 2pm to 7pm depending on the season. There’s a free guided tour of the museum in English at noon on Fridays from Jun-Sept.
The Puccini Museum (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is about the life of the famous composer Giacomo Puccini who was born here in Lucca in 1858. La bohème, Tosca and Madam Butterfly are among his most famous operas and you can book tickets to his operas here*.
The museum is a typical slightly boring museum on the second floor of an old house where the composer was born. It’s quite a small museum and you’ll be done in 30 minutes. There are musical instruments, costumes from the operas, musical scores and many letters that he wrote. There’s also a section about the social history of the time Puccini lived.
Directions: Return to the main church square and leave along a small lane in the far right corner. Take the first left.
This winding, pedestrian alleyway is Via Fillungo*, a shopping street for art, ceramics, textiles and more. It’s the main shopping avenue of Lucca and contains a lot of independent shops. There are also several nice medieval buildings lining the street.
Directions: A short distance along the street you’ll find the Torre delle Ore. Though obvious from far away, the entrance is easy to miss, so keep a lookout.
7. Torre delle Ore
Key Information: Open mid-March to early November only, from 10.30am to between 4pm and 7:30pm depending on the season. Tickets are €5, or get a combination ticket.
The Torre delle Ore, Torre Guinigi and Botanical Garden all cost €5 to enter. If you want to visit all three, get a combination ticket for €12.
You can climb up Torre delle Ore (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) for amazing views over the city. It’s a clock tower built way back in the 13th century and it chimes every 15 minutes. It’s rather loud, so it’s best not to be right by the bell when it rings. As you walk up there are information boards about the history of the tower which are interesting to reach and break up the long climb.
Torre delle Ore is actually the tallest tower in Lucca (50 metres), taller than the more famous Guinigi Tower (45 metres). An advantage of climbing up Torre delle Ore rather than Guinigi Tower is that you can see Guinigi Tower with its rooftop oak trees from the top and it’s less busy with tourists. If you go up Guinigi Tower, you can’t really see the tower itself!
Directions: Continue walking along Via Fillungo and take the second lane on the left. At the next corner, the Domus Romana is a short distance on your right.
8. Domus Romana
Key Information: Tickets are €5. Open 10am-6pm every day except Tuesdays.
The Domus Romana (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is a great little history museum. You can discover archaeological finds and learn about the history of Lucca over the past 2000 years, which really opens your eyes while walking through the city. The tour starts with an informative introductory video, followed by a guided visit around the little museum. The museum is within the excavations of a Roman house found here only in 2010, in the basement of a more modern building. There are also many artefacts and interesting maps in the museum.
Directions: Continue along the street and take the first left. The entrance to the Pfanner Palace is on your right.
9. Palazzo Pfanner-Controni (Pfanner Palace)
Key Information: Open Apr-Nov, 10am-6pm. Tickets to the gardens and residence are €4.50 each or €6.50 combined.
Palazzo Pfanner-Controni (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is a 17th-century villa with a lovely Baroque garden. The garden is a tranquil oasis with beautiful smells of roses or lemon blossoms and you can also tour a small section of the palace interior.
Directions: Head down the street back to Via Fillungo, the busy shopping street. Turn left and walk along until a square on your left with another church at the far end.
10. Basilica of San Frediano
Key Information: Open 9:30am-4:30pm every day. Tickets are €3.
Basilica of San Frediano* is a Romanesque church famous for the beautiful golden mosaic on its front. It was built in the 12th-13th centuries, making it older than the cathedral. The most interesting thing inside is the mummy of St. Zita, a girl who apparently just naturally mummified after dying in 1272. Her body was found to miraculously not deteriorate, so she was made a saint.
Directions: Return back to the other side of the square, turn right and right again into the famous oval-shaped square.
11. Piazza dell Anfiteatro
The Piazza dell Anfiteatro* is also called the Anfiteatro Romano or Piazza del Mercato. A Roman amphitheatre existed here in the first to second centuries BC. It was destroyed and its foundations are now several metres underground. However, in the Middle Ages, the inhabitants built houses along the old walls, which is why it retains the shape of an Amphitheatre today.
If you look carefully at the buildings on the street following the outside curve of the Amphitheatre you can make out some old arches and stones which were part of the original amphitheatre. A few decades ago a market took place here, but now there are just touristy cafes and upmarket shops.
12. Guinigi Tower (Torre Guinigi)
Key Information: Tickets are €5. Opens all year round from 10am. Closes between 4pm and 8:30pm depending on the season.
The Guinigi Tower (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is a cool tower famous for its little rooftop garden of trees. It has become the symbol of Lucca and is the final stop on this walking tour. The Guinigi Tower is 45 metres high and dates from the 14th century. The very rich Guinigi family commissioned the tower as a display of their wealth and importance. The oak trees in the garden at the top symbolise the rebirth of the city. There are panoramic views from amongst the trees, though it can be very busy. Try arriving early or late in the day, otherwise you can get stuck in queues on the narrow steps.
Directions: This is the end of the Lucca Walking Tour. From here you can explore additional museums and places to visit in Lucca (see below), find somewhere to eat, or return to the station roughly 800 metres to the south.
Best Places to Stay in Lucca
Budget: Lucca Charm* is a guesthouse in a building full of character right in the heart of old town Lucca, with friendly hosts and a great atmosphere.
Comfort: Lucca In Villa Elisa & Gentucca* has a great location near the city walls and provides free parking, while also being close to the station. A plentiful, delicious breakfast is included. When in Lucca, we stayed here.
Additional Museums and Places to Visit in Lucca
Botanical Garden of Lucca
Key Information: Tickets are €5. Open mid-March to early November. Opens at 10.30am and closes between 4pm and 8:30pm depending on the season.
The Botanical Garden of Lucca (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is a beautiful botanical garden near the city walls. It’s not huge but it’s a nice little place to explore if you have the time. These gardens were founded in 1820 and there are some lovely old trees here. One downside is that the signs for the plants and trees are only in Italian.
Villa Mansi Museum
Key Information: Tickets are €4, or €6.50 combined with the Villa Guignigi Museum.
The Museum of Villa Mansi (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is a Baroque palace from the 16th century and a museum of history and art. In the villa, you can see opulently decorated rooms including the grand ballroom, and many tapestries. There are also many paintings.
Villa Guinigi Museum
Key Information: Tickets are €4, or €6.50 combined with the Villa Mansi Museum.
The National Museum of Villa Guinigi (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is named after Paolo Guinigi, who ruled Lucca from 1400 to 1430, and for whom the famous tower is named. The museum houses many Etruscan and Roman sculptures, most having been found somewhere in Lucca. The discoveries are displayed very nicely, the museum is uncrowded and there are some English captions for the sculptures.
Museo della Tortura
Key Information: Open daily from 10am to 8pm (shorter hours in winter). Tickets are €10/7. Not really suitable for children.
The Museo della Tortura (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*), or Museum of Torture, displays horrific torture instruments. The message of the museum is that torture should never be acceptable and there are plentiful English descriptions.
Acquedotto del Nottolini
The Acquedotto del Nottolini* starts just to the south of the station, on the far side from the centre of town. You can walk along by the aqueduct for 3.5km through lovely countryside to where it starts at the base of mountainous foothills. The reason it seems so well-preserved is that it’s actually fairly modern, from the 19th century, and only modelled after the ancient Roman aqueducts.
If you rent a bike*, you can also cycle along the aqueduct. There’s one footbridge you have to carry your bike up, but it’s not that high and the steps are wide. The rest of the way is easy cycling.
FAQS: Lucca Walking Tour
Lucca is definitely worth visiting for the Medieval city centre, beautiful churches and well-preserved city walls.
To spend a day in Lucca, walk around the city walls (4 km) and then explore the Medieval city centre, including a visit to the cathedral and Chiesa di San Michele, and climb at least one of the Medieval fortified towers for great views over the city.
Lucca is known for its many Medieval fortified towers. The most famous of these is the Guinigi Tower, which has several oak trees growing at the top. Lucca is also known for its well-preserved city walls that you can walk around.
Lucca is definitely worth a day trip, as you can stroll around the old city centre, visit the beautiful churches and go up the Medieval fortified towers for great views over the city.