Too often Lucca is considered and planned within an Italian itinerary, as a possible daytrip from a different base. But invariably, once in the city, visitors regret their decision and wish they had planned to dedicate more time to this fascinating small city. For example, just its medieval walls will prove to be an unexpected, extraordinary discovery.
First-time visitors to Lucca need to know that Lucca is a circular city, protected and surrounded by impressive walls. A simple web search will reveal that the city walls are 4 kilometers and 223 meters long (about 2.5 miles), and they are the result of the most recent restoration dating from May 7, 1504, and completed one and a half centuries later. But this is not the most significant thing to know about Lucca’s walls. What really matters for both expert and novice travelers is that Lucca’s walls are a lively and buzzing place of gatherings, exchanges and connections. These walls are alive!
One of the very first things we suggest to do upon arriving in the city is to go to one of the several gateways in the walls and rent a bicycle – the most autenthic Italian way to move around Lucca. You will start with a short climb to the top of the walls – no more than a few meters – and then very easily continue pedaling protected by majestic trees. From up on the wall, the city will flow to either your left or to your right. Regardless of the direction you may decide to ride, the view will be exquisite and magnificent. You will encounter younger and older people, women, men, children and friendly dogs, too.. A smiling and welcoming humanity which makes this city such a magical and enchanting place to stop, for a brief break from the usual succession of busy sightseeing days. You will never regret it!
(**) Lawrence Block – American writer