LUCCA – A pearl of Tuscany

Toscana Foto 1

Lucca, at approx 35 km from the Agriturismo I Pitti, has been defined in many different ways and it is one of the most illustrious Italian towns and it’s located on the left side of the Serchio River. Historically Lucca was a free “island” on its own in Tuscany as an independent municipality from 1162 and as an independent Republic from the middle of the sixteenth century until the French occupation in 1799. From 1805 to 1813 it was the Princedom of Felice and Elisa Baciocchi (Napoleon’s sister) and after the fall of Napoleon it became a Duchy under the Bourbon family.

Only in 1847, when Charles Luois of Bourbon left the duchy to Leopold II Granduke of Tuscany, Lucca could follow the same destiny as the other cities of the region. The city’s independence has been very important especially for the development of the silk sector, the city’s primary economic resource dominated by rich and powerful merchant companies with affiliates around the whole of Europe.

The city of Lucca strongly identifies itself with its town wall and it has become a monument also thanks to the fact that it has never been besieged! The historic center, where the plan of the Roman colony is still retraceable with its square-like shape, is characterized by elegant palaces, florid gardens and medieval towers. The town offers many open spaces with trees and flowers and the green foliage are visible even on the very peculiar Guinigi Tower which has trees growing on top of it. Among the rich variety of art works in Lucca there are the splendid cathedral dedicated to Saint Martin and where it’s possible to see the famous funerary monument of Ilaria del Carretto, a masterpiece of the sculptor Jacopo della Quercia. Lucca is also famous for being the native town of great musicians like Luigi Boccherini and Giacomo Puccini and the big poet Giosuè Carducci. Going outside town there are various places worth a visit, like Garfagnana, an isolated area in the mountains with its own particular history and characteristics, and the Piana di Lucca, where there are many parishes, castles and antique hospitals to discover along the ancient Francigena road. In the surroundings of Lucca, on the slopes of Pizzone (North-East of the city), there are also many remarkable renaissance villas. On the coast side there are the famous beaches of Versilia.

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