Lucca and San Gimignano are two beautiful gems of Tuscany! When I decided to pass by Tuscany, I did not want to simply check out Florence, but also other great places. Both were recommended by a colleague of mine and I am so glad I asked for her tips on Tuscany! Both Lucca and San Gimignano proved to be incredibly beautiful places, even though they were rather crammed with tourists.
We arrived in Lucca, the city of 100 churches, around lunch time, so we had plenty of time to wander around the city and enjoy. Located 1h by car to the West of Florence, it can also be a perfect day trip!
The old city is surrounded by 16th century walls, the city’s most distinctive characteristic and are accessible by both foot and car (there are certain restrictions regarding this). It’s great to walk around and discover the beautiful churches Lucca has to offer, my favourite being San Michele in Foro and the beautiful Piazza San Michele (former site of the Roman ancient forum of the city).
While wandering, we found a map of the city and decided to walk in the direction of the Amphitheater Square, where you can see the buildings being built in an elliptical shape, much like an amphitheater. This is a lovely place to enjoy bruschetta for dinner accompanied by a chilled wine.
Even though we had some issue with the accommodation, the day spent there was lovely, thanks to the beautiful architecture, lovely weather and delicious ice cream!
San Gimignano is a small town in the southwest of Florence, surrounded by 13th century walls. Its features are the old town center in Piazza della Cisterna, the 12th century dome and its famous towers. We arrived in San Gimignano quite early, as it is around 1h away by car from Lucca. After settling in our B & B (which had a gorgeous view of San Gimignano from the garden we went uphill to discover the gem inside the walls!
It was rather full of tourists, but with the town being such a beauty, I understand the hype! As you enter the city walls, you continue straight into Piazza della Cisterna, passing by shops full of cute and colourful souvernirs.
Going further from Piazza della Cisterna, you will find the Dome, dominating the square in front of it. I recommend visiting the Dome and the Civic Museum. I particularly loved the depiction of the Stories of the Old Testament on the left wall and the Stories of the New Testament on the right wall inside the Dome. If you are an art and architecture lover (you must be, otherwise you wouldn’t check out Italy at all, right?), then this is a must. It will not take a long time and it will be worth the time!
You can keep continuing exploring the city without a map and an ice cream in your hand; you cannot get lost – simply walk along the walls and you will be back on track! Don’t forget to enjoy a nice dinner in the Piazza della Cisterna!
Have you been to Lucca and San Gimignano? If not, would you check them out? If so, did you enjoy it?