Adventure 14 // Lucca, Italy
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Length of stay: 4 nights
Accommodations: Apartment in City Center of Lucca
Travel Time: by train from Florence about 1.5 hour for about $8 adult $3 child
Goal: Experience our first family cooking class and explore a walled village
Family Friendly: ★★★
Our train experience from Florence to Lucca was such breeze and much easier and cheaper than we expected. It took about 1.5 hours and there were a few brief stops along the way. One thing to note is that there was no room for our luggage, and if the train were more full, I imagine we would have needed to stand the whole way. The station in Florence is an outdoor station with about a dozen tracks. This station has an area to grab a taxi if you are coming in. One of the few taxis stands we found where they actually pull up with out needing to radio them. We used our Tep Wireless on the train to get some work done. There was a plug but no internet. But for $8, we weren’t complaining, and grateful we had our own connection to the web.
Lucca, it’s not what we thought. We only went to Lucca to do a cooking class we had signed up for months in advance and work from the apartment. How quickly we were put in place when we discovered the most charming village, that was actually kid friendly and filled to the brim with delicious food and nice people. We were greeted down the path to their home by Stephania to embark on an afternoon of vegan pasta making. Lucca Cooking School was such a wonderful afternoon! We highly recommend it, even with children.
It’s a very walkable town that feels like the set of a magical movie. We had one of our best meals at Cantine Bernardini, which catered to both vegans and non-vegans. The bread soup blew my mind. Joey too. It was not what I thought. I was a bowl of wet vinigary-tomatoy bread, which sounds gross. But trust me. It was so good. I went back again the next day for it.
The thing that struck us about Lucca was that it seemed everyone was so friendly. The juxtaposition from Florence was obvious immediately. People smiled, tourists were treated well, and there was an overall calmness. We also experienced higher quality meals for slightly less money. It’s a trend I am noticing when speaking to friends and other travelers. Big cities = harder to find quality.
So with all the good feels and knowing we only had a short time in Lucca, we hit the ground walking, bike riding, and exploring as much as we could - despite the heat. It was the first time we all felt safe as well.
Here is what we found!
Lucca is a walled city, which was new to us Americans. I couldn’t quite picture it in my head before arriving, but it’s quite impressive. The walls are made of cement and brick and are thick enough to have a modern day bike/walking path on top of - which of course we explored. It created an opportunity for stunning views of the surrounding mountains and land.
Inside the wall, guests can not drive, and for what I imaging is good reason. This medieval village looks super complicated to get around by car with it’s tiny roads and convoluted directions on google maps. once you pass the wall entrance by car, you can park in one of the underground garages for about $20/24 hours.
Bike rentals were $4/hr per bike (or person in our care) and was such a good idea. The village is not big, so the loop of the wall ride is quite pleasant. There are parks and sculptures and nice scenery. The place we rented from was well situated by path up to the wall entrance, a park, and a little quick mart to grab drinks.
From the wall we saw a stunning garden and went down to explore during our second loop. Palazzo Pfanner is a stunning flower and sculpture garden with a mansion on the grounds. It was the most insane feeling to enter this mystical place. The heat was pounding us, but we just couldn’t retreat, it was so stunning we had to soak oil as much as possible.
in usual small village fashion, there were tons of places to eat, shop, pretty buildings to peer at, and lots of resting spots to take a breather.
Joey climbed the Guinigi Tower, while I kept my fear of heights at bay in the apartment. He said the view was amazing and the climb was not that awful and suggests to go in the morning.
OUR FAVORITE VEGAN FOOD
Apriti Sesamo (in Parma in our way from Lucca to Bergamo)
NOT TOO TOURISTY, TOURISTY STUFF
Ride bikes ON the wall
Climb the Guinigi Tower
Spend time in the most stunning Palazzo Pfanner
Our suggested length of stay is 5 days/4 nights if you are with a child.
PPS Want to check out all our travel videos and posts? Here is a shortcut.
Family Trips to Date: 42
Carousels Ridden: 9
Roller Coasters Ridden: 2