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A favorite enoteca in Monte Carlo,
a small hilltown near Lucca

Colorful flag competition
in Lucca

The seaside hiking trail
of The Cinque Terre

The town of Lerici
on the beautiful Gulf of Poets

We're surrounded by some of the most beautiful and well-preserved culture, scenery and history in Tuscany.

Lucca – Tuscany’s Jewel City

The city of Lucca has been accurately called "a perfectly preserved medieval treasure house." The old town, much of which is a pedestrian zone, rests within its intact Renaissance walls. Originally built for fortification, the walls were transformed in the mid-19th century into a lovely shaded walkway, interspersed with playgrounds, picnic areas and quiet retreats. One of the best introductions to Lucca is to walk or to bike the top of the wall along its four-kilometer perimeter. Within the walls one can also find remnants of the original Roman walls and large sections of the medieval walls, as well as the Roman amphitheater, now the site of art and craft shops. Lucca is unusual for the number of well-preserved Romanesque churches. The city offers incredible yet reasonably priced shopping opportunities: leather, silk, fabrics, ceramics, shoes, jewelry and kitchen items, as well as regional food specialties prepared for the traveler. Lucca’s churches and museums house masterworks by Tintoretto, della Robbia, Filippino Lippi and others.

Wines

There are hundreds of producers, thousands of acres and many wine designations in Tuscany. Practically in our own "backyard," the Lucca hills include producers ranging from rustic "garage" wineries that can present some very good "finds," to the DOCG Carmignano near Leonardo’s home of Vinci.

The Sangiovese stars include Chianti, the historic district where new vineyards and new technologies are producing outstanding and powerful wines; Brunello, whose entire ’97 vintage, just released, was rated a "99" by Wine Spectator magazine; and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano where Sangiovese takes on a softer, more herbal tone. You’ll have the opportunity to visit these wineries and taste their wines in Abbondanza Toscana courses and tours.

Gardens

The hills of Lucca contain an amazing concentration of Italian gardens including Villa Reale, the splendid home of Elisa Buonaparte, Napoleon’s sister. Short drives take you to the Boboli Gardens in Florence and to Renaissance gardens in Fiesole built by the Medici and other wealthy families, as well as many other sites. Also of interest to gardeners are the specialist manufacturers and collectors of terra cotta pots and urns, ranging from the practical to the artisan and all the way to museum quality pieces.

Art and Music

Imagine yourself sitting in the magnificent Duomo San Martino in Lucca listening to a live performance of Mozart’s Requiem while contemplating a painting of the Last Supper by Tintoretto. Lucca boasts its own orchestra and choir and hosts a number of music festivals. Of particular interest is the open air Puccini opera festival at Torre del Lago every summer and the autumn Puccini festival at Teatro del Giglio within the city walls.

Playtime: Viareggio, the Mediterranean Beaches and Golf

Viareggio, 45 minutes from Lucca, is the Tuscans’ preferred beach town. Its palm tree-lined esplanade dates from the early 19th century, and subsequent architecture includes interesting Art Nouveau buildings and houses. South of Viareggio along the Mediterranean coast is a protected nature and wetlands reserve, and east is Lago Puccini where the composer made his home-away-from-home. Within a short distance of Lucca are six golf courses, all complete with stunning views of Tuscan landscapes.

Other Sites

A short drive from Lucca is the Garfagnana, Central Italy’s mountain playground; Carrara and the marble quarries where Michelangelo and da Vinci chose their marble; Pietrasanta, an artist community specializing in marble, bronze and painting; Pinocchio Park, a tastefully designed park for children; innumerable charming hilltowns, each with its own flavor; and Pisa where the Leaning Tower has been recently re-opened for visitors. Also one hour from Lucca is Florence, the artistic storehouse of the Renaissance, and the Cinque Terre, with its gorgeous coastline and charming seaside villages. Less than two hours from Lucca are Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra, and Chianti.

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