One of the most beautiful cities in Tuscany, Lucca has existed as a Latin colony since 180 AD. Its Roman origins and rich history are recorded in its ancient architecture and enclosed within medieval walls four kilometres long. Today, these walls help to limit car access to the historic centre and serve as a garden to the city: they are topped by a wide, tree-lined path where anyone can walk, cycle, jog or roller-blade untroubled by cars.
Well-known landmarks include the Duomo of San Martino, dating back to the sixth century; the Church of San Michele, featuring a statue of the archangel Michael atop a medieval marble facade; the Church of San Giovanni, which hosts nightly Puccini concerts as well as housing a collection of Roman artefacts; the Piazza dell’ Antiteatro, a former Roman amphitheatre now filled with cafes and popular for outdoor concerts; the fourteenth-century Guinigi Tower, which offers views across the city; the Basilica of San Frediano, which boasts a gold leaf mosaic facade and stunning baptismal font along with other works of art; and, just outside the city, the famous nineteenth-century aqueduct consisting of over four-hundred-and-fifty arches.
Aside from architecture, Lucca also offers antique shops and botanic gardens as well as a number of museums. These include the Villa Guinigi National Museum, home of art and artefacts dating from prehistoric times to the seventeenth century, and the Puccini Museum, filled with Puccini memorabilia including his own scores and piano. However a visitor’s interests are inclined, there is a wealth of opportunities to soak up the local culture.
The area around Villa Benvenuti provides ample opportunity for in- and outdoor pursuits. Massages, cooking classes, wine tastings and visits to local towns such as Pisa, Florence and Pistoia can be arranged on behalf of our guests for utmost convenience. The landscape is ideal for walking (whether strolling or hiking), and for an effortless cycle or jog, guests may venture to the wall-top pathway of Lucca or the smooth land that surrounds it. For guests eager to sample local produce, there are several vineyards and farms in the area that welcome visitors. An hour’s drive north of the villa is the Serchio River and its surrounding lakes, which together comprise one of the most fertile regions of Italy for the keen fisherman or woman: the most abundant species is trout, followed by chubs and carp, among others. For seasonal day-trips, popular seaside and ski resorts are an hour away or less; golf and riding can also be organised upon request.
Concerts in honour of Giacomo Puccini are held in Lucca year-round, in addition to regular performances from the dynamic young Lucca Opera Company. Every March, the city plays host to the Lucca Verde Mura gardening exhibition, which attracts approximately fifteen-thousand visitors per year, and this is mirrored in autumn by the Murabilia exhibition, held atop the city walls. In July, a world-renowned popular music festival comes to the area — previous guests include Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Eagles, Sir Elton John and Robbie Williams — and for those with a more classical taste, the Puccini Festival at nearby Torre del Lago and Pietrasanta In Concerto also take place in the summer. The autumn and winter bring the religious festival of Volto Santo, complete with processions, fireworks and multi-day festivities; Lucca Comics and Games, the second most popular comic festival in Europe; and the Winter Music Festival, partner to the July festival, featuring more varied and alternative acts.
For more information on any of the above, please contact us directly at [email protected].