Annual Events & Festivals in Lucca, Italy
Palio de San Paolino (July): A medieval celebration of Lucca's patron saint Paolino. Costume parades, flag throwing, and crossbow shooting.
Lucca 'Summer Festival' (July): Series of open air concerts, mainly taking place in the Piazza Napoleone (AKA Piazza Verde) throughout July. This event has grown in popularity in a very short time and now attracts some big names on the European summer tour circuit.
Vinaria Wine Festival (late August / early September) Held in the small town of Montecarlo near Lucca, this annual wine fair/festival is becoming bigger each year. Local growers and winemakers present their wines with abundant opportunities for tasting. Also plenty of other local produce and wares, exhibitions and presentations.
Puccini Opera Festival (Torre del Lago near Lucca): "The Puccini Opera Festival in Torre del Lago is staged just a few kilometres from Pietrasanta, the "Little Athens" where Michelangelo first based his marble cutting activities. Torre del Lago, original home of the Puccini Festival, is situated just next to the magnificent beaches of Viareggio on the Tuscan Riviera and to the ancient city of Lucca."
Lucca Travel and Tourism Guide by James Martin:
Tired of trudging up steep slopes to get to that Tuscan hill town? Lucca may be the answer. With its imposing 16th century ramparts still wrapped around the compact village sitting on flat ground, Lucca offers the casual stroller wonderful opportunities to walk off that heavy Tuscan lunch without breaking a sweat.
Lucca sits on an alluvial plateau near the Serchio river, 19 meters above sea level. Lucca is located 30 kilometers northeast of the Pisa airport and 85 kilometers west of Florence in Northern Tuscany. Lucca was an important junction in Roman times, you'll see it in the north-south grid pattern of main streets and in the elliptical plan of the "Piazza Anfiteatro" . To the north of Lucca lie the Apuane Alps with their famous marble quarries, spas and mineral water springs, streams, woods and caves.
Lucca, Italy: a springtime city break
Written by: Abigail Hole
Wandering through Lucca in Tuscany is like stepping into an illuminated manuscript. The town’s red-orange roofs and spires thrust out of a landscape of deepest green, with cypress-tree brushstrokes and a backdrop of mountains. Author Hilaire Belloc’s 1902 description holds true: ‘The neatest, the regularest, the exactest, the most fly-in-amber town in the world, with its uncrowded streets, its absurd fortifications… everything in Lucca is good.’
It’s hard to imagine anywhere more romantic than Lucca in the spring. From late March to early June, the surrounding meadows are splashed with colour, as wild flowers run riot. The climate resembles a perfect English summer’s day: skies are blue and the valleys are lush. It’s still low season, so there are bargains to be had, and none of the holiday crowds that descend on Tuscany in July and August.
Circle the Old Town: Lucca’s city walls
The ‘absurd fortifications’ described by Belloc are Lucca’s complete and substantial city walls, so sturdy that they support avenues of plane trees. The elevated two-and-a-half-mile circuit offers shifting viewpoints over the town, particularly glorious at sunset.
Amble in the sunshine: Parco Villa Reale
Once home to Napoleon’s sister Elisa Baciocchi Bonaparte, Villa Reale is closed to the public, but its 17th-century gardens are a marvellously theatrical adventure. Daily guided tours take in a water theatre with grotesque, stream spewing masks, a lemon tree garden, a topiary sculpted ‘green theatre’ and a labyrinth.
See religious art: Cattedrale di San Martino
Loomed over by a medieval bell tower, the façade of the Cattedrale di San Martino is a magnificent, lace-like doily of carved marble, supported by sculpted columns, each one different. The late-Gothic interior is equally spectacular, with sculptures by Matteo Civitali, a painting of The Last Supper by Tintoretto and a wooden cross said to have been carved by Nicodemus. What’s more, admission is free so you can save your money for souvenirs.
Souvenir stop: Lucca’s antique market
Get lost among a mishmash of silverware, brass, bronze, wood carvings, furniture, and antique and second-hand books.Lucca has one of Italy’s best antique markets, an epic sprawl held on the third weekend of every month around an series of piazzas.