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How To Enjoy A Day Trip To Lucca From Florence (By Train)

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If you’re wondering whether you can travel to Lucca as a day trip from Florence, then the answer is absolutely! How do we know? Because we’ve done it, of course! Thanks to Italy’s fantastic train network, you can be in Lucca in under 2 hours. Read on to find out how you can make the most of your day in Lucca.

Is Lucca Worth A Day Trip?

First things first, is Lucca even worth a day trip? Or should you spend longer there?

Lucca is a fairly small city, so it’s possible to see many of the top attractions within just one day. This makes it a great day trip from nearby cities such as Pisa and Florence.

Interestingly, the historic centre of Lucca is hidden away from the outside world by 12-metre-high walls. These are called “The Ramparts” and they were built in 1560.

Even today, this part of the city is a traffic-free zone. Thankfully, Lucca is a very walkable city, so it’s easy enough to get around without a car.

Beyond that, Lucca is an enchanting city that’s crying out for you to explore it.

Founded in 180 BC as a Roman colony, you only have to walk mere metres before you see the city’s history unfold. You’ll love wandering along the historic cobblestone streets, admiring the beautiful churches and taking in the views from the city walls.

Views across Lucca in Italy

How To Enter The Ancient City of Lucca

If you’re arriving in Lucca by train (like most people do), then you’ll find the historic city centre within a quick 10-minute walk from the train station. Given their height, you can’t miss the city’s walls aka the Ramparts.

You can choose from several entrances that lead into the centre of Lucca. The entrances are built into the city walls.

Entrance to Lucca through its city walls

During our visit, we found a tiny little entrance into the city. It really felt like we were discovering a hidden gem or some secret place.

What To See During Your Day Trip To Lucca

Once you’re inside the city walls, here’s what you can discover during your one day in Lucca…

Chiesa di San Michele in Foro

San Michele di Foro in Lucca

The incredible Chiesa di San Michele in Foro is one of the first landmarks you’ll see when walking from the train station. And it’s not to be missed!

This impressive Roman Catholic church dates back to at least 795 AD when it was first documented as “ad foro” (in the forum). Probably because the church was built over the remains of an ancient Roman Forum.

Don’t you think the church’s facade looks a lot like Doge’s Palace in Venice?

Today, you can look inside the church for free. Note that the church is sometimes closed for a long siesta during lunchtime hours. It’s also only open to worship visitors on Sundays and national holidays.

Piazza dell’Anfiteatro

Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is probably one of the most iconic images of Lucca.

Now a lively square full of shops, restaurants and cafes, Piazza dell’Anfiteatro was once a 1st-century amphitheatre.

Anfitheatro Romano in Lucca

What struck us most was how large the squares are in Lucca, but also how unspoiled they are. We didn’t see any graffiti, litter or pigeons – just a row of charming buildings circling the square.

While you’re here, take a peek through some of the archways. You might just find an entrance to the city walls… just like we did!

The Ramparts

The Ramparts, aka Lucca’s city walls, are known locally as ‘Le Mura di Lucca’.

These 4 km long Renaissance city walls date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Since then, they’ve been transformed into a charming promenade offering panoramic views of the city.

A wander along Lucca’s Ramparts is such a calming experience that you might find yourself lost in your thoughts for a while.

Take us, for example. We didn’t notice it beginning to rain, so we had to take cover under some trees for well over half an hour before we could continue our walk.

Lucca trees

Duomo di San Martino

Next on your Lucca itinerary should be a visit to the magnificent Duomo di San Martino, sometimes also called the Cathedral of Lucca.

This 11th-century cathedral, dedicated to Saint Martin, is a significant landmark within the city. I think it looks very similar to the San Michele in Foro church we mentioned earlier.

Lucca Cathedral

As per local legend, each column of the cathedral’s facade is different because they were all entries in a competition for artists. Instead of choosing a winner, all the columns were used.

You can pay a small fee to enter. But you’ll save money with a combo ticket, which includes the Cathedral, Belltower, Museum, Baptistery and the Church of Saints Giovanni and Reparata.

Piazza Napoleone

To conclude your day in Lucca, head to Piazza Napoleone (sometimes called Piazza Grande).

This buzzing square is a hub of activity and the perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploring Lucca. Don’t forget to people-watch while you enjoy a delicious Italian coffee.

If you’re lucky, your visit might also coincide with the Lucca Summer Festival, which is a vibrant celebration of music and culture right here in Piazza Napoleone.

Palazzo Pfanner and its Gardens

Within a 10-minute walk of Piazza Napoleone, you’ll also find the enchanting Palazzo Pfanner, which is well worth a visit if you have time.

Named after Felix Pfanner, a prominent local brewer who purchased the palace in the 19th century, it’s a fabulous example of Lucca’s stunning architecture.

The palace is renowned for its elaborate gardens, where you’ll find baroque sculptures, vibrant flowers and lush greenery.

Palazzo Pfanner in Lucca

Noteworthy Festivals in Lucca

Alongside the Lucca Summer Festival, you might be able to time your trip to Lucca with one of these other fabulous festivals:

  • Holy Week Celebrations: Due to the city’s deep-rooted Roman Catholic traditions, the city plays host to religious parades during Holy Week, while Easter Mass is celebrated with sacred music. These celebrations usually start on Palm Sunday and end on Easter Sunday.
  • Santa Zita Flower Festival: The Santa Zita Flower Festival is a vibrant celebration dedicated to the patron saint of Lucca, Santa Zita. This historical flower festival usually takes place on April 27th. The highlight of the festival is the traditional flower market at Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. The city also offers various celebrations in Piazza San Frediano.

How To Get To Lucca From Florence (Or Pisa)

If you’re visiting the nearby cities of Florence or Pisa, then you can easily travel to Lucca by train for the day. Pisa to Lucca takes just 40 minutes while Florence is less than 2 hours away by train.

If you’re pressed for time, you could even explore both Pisa and Lucca in one day as the main attractions within each city are fairly close to each other. But you would have to skip some sights and walk quickly, so we wouldn’t really recommend doing this unless you have to.

It’s easy enough to book your train tickets in advance via the ItaliaRail or Trenitalia websites. That said, if your day trip to Lucca will be more impromptu then you don’t have to book your tickets in advance as reservations aren’t usually required between these two cities.

Where To Stay in Lucca

Even though you can easily visit Lucca as a day trip from Florence, you’ll have a more immersive experience if you spend a night or two in this charming Tuscan city. We recommend staying within or just outside the city walls.

Here are some top-rated hotels to consider:

Discover more hotels and apartments in Lucca via Booking.com >>

I hope you’ve found this guide on Florence to Lucca day trips helpful. What are you most excited to see and do first? Let us know in the comments below…

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How To Enjoy A Florence To Lucca Day Trip
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Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

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