Lucca (the city and the province alike) is yet another noteworthy attraction nearby Pisa – located northeastwards from the capital of the Province of Pisa – and, despite the historic rivalry between these two Tuscan cities, what they have in common at present is precisely the historic and architectural heritage, both Pisa and Lucca holding their fair share of assets. Indeed, Lucca used to be a major political and economical presence in Europe, managing to compete, for instance, with Byzantium in terms of silk trade.

Another peak historical pride of Lucca is this city has been the second largest, next to Venice, featuring a republican constitution which managed to maintain its independence for centuries. Thus, the grandness of this city’s history is imprinted in the many landmarks Lucca is replete with. First of all, the city walls or ramparts dating back to the 16th century represent the first objective to draw visitors’ attention due to their imposing structure and also given they are fully and perfectly preserved. Nowadays, they offer a great walking or biking tour along Lucca. The remains of an ancient Roman amphitheatre are still visible today, more precisely, in the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, but there is also a large range of religious edifices of which the Cathedral of St. Martin (otherwise referred to as the Lucca Cathedral) has quite a few assets to capitalize upon, such as the controversial Volto Santo di Lucca (the Sacred Countenance) and its façade columns, again explained, as to the fact they are all different from each other, by a legendary account which seems, on the other hand, to be sustained by the facts.

Other religious edifices refer to the Church of San Michele in Foro, the Basilica di San Frediano and to the Church of San Giorgio. Some notable historic landmarks are the Ducal Palace, Palazzo Pfanner and Villa Garzoni, but the Clock Tower (Torre delle Ore), Museo Nazionale Guingi, Museo e Pinacoteca Nazionale and the Botanical Garden are also worth ticking off while in Lucca. Additional incentives for visiting Lucca – which for that matter, is linked to Pisa by an extremely solid road and railroad infrastructure and by a proficient and reliable public transport system – are the fact that the city is the birth place of Puccini and the place were Dante used to live while in exile.

Lucca, Italy

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