Enchanting Lucca, situated on the banks of the River Serchio, in the northwest corner of Tuscany, endears itself to everyone who visits. Hidden behind imposing Renaissance walls, its cobbled streets, handsome piazzas and shady promenades make it a perfect destination to explore by foot.
Enchanting Lucca, situated on the banks of the River Serchio, in the northwest corner of Tuscany, endears itself to everyone who visits. Hidden behind imposing Renaissance walls, its cobbled streets, handsome piazzas and shady promenades make it a perfect destination to explore by foot. Always important, this town began life as a Roman colony in 177 BC, and grew in importance to become the provincial capital of Tuscany in the Middle Ages.
This fascinating walking tour will begin with a stroll to the Cathedral of San Martino with its Romanesque façade. Its decorated interior is rich in reliefs, fine sculpture and religious artefacts. Then on to the arena and a series of arches that are the remains of the colossal ancient Roman amphitheatre that once graced the centre of town. You will walk through the “Piazza” and find the Church of San Frediano, founded in the 6th century. Its Romanesque style is a monument to a 12th century restoration project, and its impressive façade features a mosaic depicting Christ and the Apostles. After your tour of Lucca, enjoy some free time for lunch on your own and to explore this picturesque town.
Next, continue by road to Pisa, a city internationally famous for its superb and unusual architecture. Unfortunately, most of Pisa was bombed during World War II, but one section miraculously survived intact: the Piazza del Duomo, now known as the Piazza dei Miracoli because of its remarkable escape from destruction. As you approach the Square of Miracles, the city’s most famous symbol, the precarious Leaning Tower, appears before you. Begun in 1174, the tower started to lean when construction reached the third story. Attempts to make the remaining floors slightly higher on the leaning side only made it worse. Legend says that Pisa’s most illustrious son Galileo (born in 1564) conducted his famous experiments on gravity by dropping metal balls from the top of the 187-foot-high tower.
Next, visit Pisa’s magnificent Cathedral, a Romanesque basilica of white marble that is renowned for its beautifully carved pulpit and paintings and, on the door facing the tower, the Romanesque panels portraying the life of Christ. Admire its famous pulpit designed by Giovanni Pisano, who decorated it with nine biblical reliefs. Enter the lovely Gothic Baptistry and view its marble font under a conical dome and famous organ, noted for its fine echo. Also admire its pulpit, carved by Giovanni’s father, Nicola Pisano.
Then, relax and savour your experience as you return to Livorno.