A hundred churches, kilometres of walls. To the less attentive traveller, these are the distinctive aspects of Lucca, but, with patience this town can offer so many surprises that there will be no regrets that they haven’t visited the other usual, more popular destinations. In the meantime, its position: Lucca is 20 kilometres from Pisa, 70 km from Florence and 15 km from the Versilia coastline. Its historical centre is almost completely closed to traffic, so it is easily visited on foot or by bike.
The town’s origins date back to Etruscan times. A fortified town in Roman times, it became the prey of the barbarians and of the Longobards and the Franks in particular. A small yet powerful state in the Middle Ages, then city-state and republic, Lucca also fell under the Napoleonic and Bourbon rule. The town’s long history can also be discovered through one of the principal characteristics of Lucca, over four kilometres of walls that surround the centre, around which there are large meadows without trees or houses, the so-called ‘tagliata’. The current walls are the fruit of four successive constructions. The first band consists of the ancient Roman walls; the building of the medieval band began between the 11th and 12th centuries. The wall belt was further extended around 1350 as a result of the urban expansion of the town. Finally, there’s the fourth belt, whose works lasted from 1545 to 1650. The walls now run around the centre for approximately four kilometres and allow access to the heart of Lucca through the gates, as well as being a preferred destination for long walks.
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