The walled city in Lucca is ideal for your next eco-friendly holiday. Discover the ultimate walking tour in Lucca to visit its 5 most beautiful squares.
The historical centre of Lucca is an amazing location for those who love green and sustainable travelling. In fact, the walled city in Lucca is almost entirely a pedestrian zone. It is really easy and convenient to get around on foot. And a walking tour is also the best way to enjoy the most iconic spots the city has to offer and the atmosphere of this destination to the utmost.
Keep reading, and discover the best walking itinerary to witness the top 5 most beautiful squares in Lucca! It comprises the squares of Piazza San Frediano, Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, Piazza San Michele, Piazza Napoleone (Piazza Grande) and Piazza San Martino.
It is amazing how these squares are beautiful and unique. In fact, though they are located in the same city, and some even a few metres apart, they are all very different from one another. Ideally, this walking tour will last about 20 minutes. But make sure you don’t rush, and take your time to truly enjoy every single spot of this green journey.
1. Piazza San Frediano: Among Beautiful Mosaics, Boutiques and Ice-cream Shops
Your walking itinerary in Lucca will start in Via Fillungo, the most important street that runs in Lucca’s historical centre. This is also where our first stop is located, Piazza San Frediano.
Several ice-cream shops, boutiques and picturesque cafes surround this square. But its most stunning feature is certainly the façade of its Church, the Basilica of San Frediano.
It is richly embellished by an enormous golden 13th C mosaic in Byzantine style, representing some biblical scenes. The colours of the mosaic amazingly contrast with the whiteness of the remaining areas. And all of this creates a wonderful mix of glittering lights and shapes, which make the square shine even on cloudy days.
Enjoy an ice cream at one of the cafes on the square. And let this magical atmosphere capture your attention.
2. Piazza Dell’Anfiteatro: the Hidden Beauty you Won’t Forget
If you go straight on from Piazza San Frediano, you will find Piazza dell’Anfiteatro on your left. Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is possibly the most widely known square in Lucca. Once you enter it, you will simply be amazed by its iconic restaurants, shops and by its vibrant atmosphere.
It features an elliptical shape and is enclosed by a ring of buildings following the shape of the former 2nd C Roman Amphitheatre from which its name originates.
You can enter it through one of the four gateways located at the four vertices of the ellipse. If you reach the centre, you will also notice a carved cross on the central tile with the arms pointing exactly at the four gateways.
At different times of the year, it hosts flower markets, events and even a beautiful Christmas tree and lighting effects at the end of the year.
3. Piazza San Michele: One of the Most Beautiful Spots of your Walking Tour in Lucca
Continue walking in via Fillungo and cross one of its secondary alleyways until you reach Piazza San Michele. This uniquely beautiful square is both literally and metaphorically the heart of the historical centre of Lucca. It is in fact the point in which several narrow streets and alleyways coming from various corners of the city intersect.
It was originally the centre of the administrative, political and religious power; and now represents one of the main symbols of the city.
It is surrounded by little cafes, shops, ancient historical buildings. The very centre of the square is enclosed by marble columns linked by heavy chains. Yet, its most stunning feature is its beautiful Romanesque church.
In addition, at the top of the church, you will see the enormous statue of archangel San Michele, represented as triumphant on the dragon while holding a cross-shaped globe.
According to some historical documents, the statue has a ring set with an enormous diamond. Try to position yourself in front of the façade when the sun goes down, and look for the exact unique point from which the shimmer of light of the diamond is visible.
Some say it is only a legend. But if you ask locals they will tell you how and from where exactly spot it. Seeing is believing!
4. Piazza Napoleone, The Beautiful Piazza Grande in Lucca
Walk until you reach Piazza Napoleone, just a few steps away from Piazza San Michele. Locals usually call it Piazza Grande. It is amazing how the look of this square changes depending on the season. And this is mainly because it hosts different events and initiatives throughout the year.
For example, it is the square where one of Italy’s most important international music festivals is held, the Lucca Summer Festival. And it is also the place where the ice-skating rink is placed during Christmas time.
When it does not host any particular event, you will see a carousel, kids playing and locals hanging out sitting in the shade of a tree.
Piazza Grande was built in 1806 during the Napoleonic domination. Then, about a decade later Maria Luisa Borbone, commissioned to renovate the premises of the adjoining Palazzo Ducale and to place in the centre of the square a statue in her honour.
The square is now one of the most popular areas of the city, and it is worth visiting any time of the year.
5. Piazza San Martino: End your Walking Tour in Lucca by visiting this Square and the Cathedral
Piazza San Martino. Photo via Canva
Last but not least, end your walking tour in Lucca by reaching Piazza San Martino, just 200 metres from Piazza Grande. The square hosts the homonymous Cathedral, whose beautiful asymmetrical façade displays the typical Roman architecture that you have also already noticed in other buildings in Lucca.
Access the square from Via del Duomo. And take one of the best snaps you can take of the whole square.
You will witness the bell tower and the different architectural elements of the cathedral, as well as a range of beautiful ancient buildings and a fountain.
On the third Sunday of the month and the previous Saturday, this square also hosts one of the best antique markets of the whole of Tuscany.
Have you ever been visited the historical centre of Lucca? Follow this walking itinerary in Lucca and enjoy some of the most beautiful spots this city has to offer.
Featured Image via Canva