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Lucca with kids: 7 things to do and see

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During our vacation in Garfagnana, which also touched on Pistoia and Pinocchio Park in Collodi, we decided to devote an entire day to visiting Lucca, as we had visited it many, many years before and liked it very much.

Lucca is a city in northern Tuscany located on the banks of the Serchio River, sandwiched between the mountainous area of Garfagnana, the Versilia area and the plain of Lucca, surrounded by rolling hills.

The historic center of Lucca is enclosed by a wall of about 4 kilometers, entirely pedestrian, which is accessed through 6 gates. The historic center is very small, visitable in a day, and rich in various works of art such as squares, towers, and churches: not surprisingly, Lucca is nicknamed the city of a hundred churches precisely because of the large number of religious buildings within the walls!

Both the wall walk and the historic center, are almost flat therefore Lucca is a family friendly city that lends itself excellently to a visit with children and strollers in tow.

In this article, we will tell you about the 7 things to see and do in Lucca with children.

torre guinigi lucca
Torre Guinigi
torre delle ore lucca
Torre delle Ore

Lucca with kids: 7 things to do and see

1 – Walls of Lucca

Lucca’s Old City Wall is almost entirely pedestrian and flat; it lends itself well to a pleasant stroll among the trees arranged along the route, looking down on the city from above.

It can also be traveled by bicycle, and nearby you will find several stores that rent them.

A curiosity: the city walls of Lucca never served a defensive purpose but to protect the city from violent flooding. The Serchio River in 1812 overflowed, flooding the surrounding countryside while the city, inside the walls, remained dry.

The walls are defended by 10 bastions (Santa Croce, San Martino, San Pietro, San Donato, San Paolino, Santa Maria, San Colombano, San Regolo, Della Libertà, San Salvatore) and one platform (San Frediano), and the gates to access the interior, as mentioned earlier are six: Porta San Donato, Porta Sant’Anna, Porta San Pietro, Porta Elisa, Porta Santa Maria, and Porta San Jacopo.

Along the route of the walls, you will find playgrounds, bars, restaurants, lawns, and fountains with drinking water to fill your water bottles.

➽ Where to rent bicycles in Lucca

Noleggio Biciclette Poli : Piazza S.Maria, 42 Lucca; Tel. e Fax 0583 493787.

Rental rates: € 4.00 per hour, € 16.00 for the whole day.

2 – Basilica of San Frediano

Once off the walls, we headed to the Basilica of San Frediano, admiring the mosaic on its facade. Founded by Bishop Frediano, in addition to the distinctive mosaic, which is rare for a Romanesque-style church, the magnificent Romanesque baptismal font can be seen inside.

☛ Opening hours

Open daily from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.

☛ Ticket cost

3 euros full, 2 euros reduced.

3 – Piazza Anfiteatro

A few minutes from the Basilica of San Frediano, we find Piazza Anfiteatro, a symbol of the city of Lucca along with the city walls. It is a unique elliptical-shaped square built by architect Nottolini in 1830.

Piazza Anfiteatro is one of the most beautiful squares in Italy and definitely worth a visit! Its shape is due to the fact that it stands on the foundations of the ancient Roman amphitheater. Here you will find many bars and restaurants where you can have something to eat although we were not particularly convinced by the menus on display and preferred to head elsewhere. Still, it remains a very picturesque place.

4 – Lucca with kids: 7 things to do and see. Torre Guinigi

Torre Guinigi is one of Lucca’s most famous towers and one of the few remaining (over time Lucca has had as many as 130 towers), the others were torn down or collapsed because of its height: in fact, the competition among the nobles of the time was to build the tallest tower.

Famous for the hanging garden on its top, consisting of seven holm oak trees clearly visible from the streets below, Torre Guinigi can be visited, and once you climb the 230 steps required to reach the top, you will have a fantastic view of the city’s rooftops and surrounding mountains.

Opening hours

October through March 20: 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m;

March 21, April, May: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday closing at 7:30 p.m.);

June and July: 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday closing at 8:30 p.m.);

August and September: 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Saturdays and Sundays in August close at 8 p.m.).
Closed on Dec. 25.

Ticket cost

5 euros full, 4 euros reduced (for children and youth aged 6 to 17), free for under 6.

5 – Torre delle Ore

The other remaining tower, is The Tower of the Hours which preserves a clock that is still working. It can be found on Via Fillungo, the main shopping street with a variety of historical establishments and stores, at the corner with Via dell’Arancio. At 50 meters high, it is the tallest of all 130 towers built in the city of Lucca.

Opening hours

Nov. 5 to March 20: Closed
March 21 to May 31: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
June 1 – September 20: 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
September 21 – September 30: 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
October 1 – November 4: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Ticket cost

5 euros full, 4 euros reduced (for children and youth aged 6 to 17), free for under 6.

6 – Chiesa di San Michele in foro

On the facade of the beautiful church of San Michele in foro, one can find a large statue depicting the Archangel Michael. A Lucchese legend has it that by standing on a particular tile in St. Michael’s Square in the evening, one can notice the sparkle of the diamond set in the ring on the statue’s finger during its construction.

Opening hours

07:40 – 12:00 and 15:00 – 18:00.

Ticket cost

Free admission.

7. Cathedral of San Martino

In the square of the same name is the Cathedral of San Martino, which is the Cathedral of Lucca, the most important religious building in the city.

Of interest is the Cathedral Museum, eight rooms including the Treasury Room with the Jewels of the Holy Face.

A few meters from the Cathedral, there is also the Monumental and Archaeological Complex of the Church of San Giovanni and Santa Reparata inside of which the evolution of the city of Lucca over the centuries is told.

Opening hours

Cathedral – Monday – Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Sunday and holidays 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Cathedral Bell Tower: Daily 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Museum: Daily 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Baptistery and Church of Saints John and Reparata (archaeological area and bell tower): Daily 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Ticket cost

Combined ticket includes Cathedral + Bell Tower + Museum + Baptistery and Church of Saints John and Reparata (archaeological area and bell tower).
Full: € 9.00, reduced: € 6.00.

Ancient city walls of Lucca
Ancient city walls of Lucca
Lucca with kids: 7 things to do and see
Walk on the walls
Meadows within the walls of the city of Lucca
Meadows within the walls of the city of Lucca
Basilica of San Frediano
Basilica of San Frediano
Church of San Michele in foro
Church of San Michele in foro
Cathedral of San Martino lucca
Cathedral of San Martino
View over the rooftops of the city of Lucca
View over the rooftops of the city of Lucca
Lucca with kids: 7 things to do and see
Piazza Anfiteatro

Where to eat in Lucca

Almost all the osterias excellently reviewed on the Internet are closed for lunch so, if you have your eye on one in particular, it is worth inquiring in advance about its opening hours so as not to risk finding it closed.

We happened upon the restaurant L’isola che non c’era, a couple of minutes’ walk from Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, specifically on Via degli Angeli, and, attracted by the menu outside, we went in. We ate very well with a fair expense for the quality of the dishes but quite high for simply being lunch. Then again, you know, on vacation you tend to indulge in something more than when you are at home!

For a charcuterie and cheese board, a Florentine steak of just over a kg (the price per kg was 55 euros), a portion of pappa al pomodoro divided among the girls, two desserts and two glasses of wine we spent 110 euros.

restaurant lucca l'isola che non c'era
restaurant lucca l'isola che non c'era

Where to park in Lucca: free parking lots

It is not possible to enter the interior of the walls by car because the historic center of Lucca is a restricted traffic zone (ZTL). Around the walls you will find numerous parking lots, almost all of which are paid, where you can leave your car and walk to the center in a few minutes.

Driving around looking for parking, we came across a street with free parking! You just have to pay attention to street cleaning days (Tuesday and Thursday) so before parking take a look at the signs.

I will leave you the directions for free parking in Lucca, a few minutes’ walk from the walls, on Delano Roosevelt Street.

Where to sleep in Lucca

Palazzo Rocchi B&B – Located in Piazza San Michele, overlooking the church of the same name, Palazzo Rocchi B&B offers a unique experience.

The building dates back to the 1400s, and the interiors have been renovated while maintaining the authenticity of the past.

The breakfast, included in the price and composed of km 0 products (possibility to request gluten-free food), is really good!

Possibility to choose between different types of rooms, from the simple double to the suite with kitchenette, and to add a crib or bed for baby – up to 5 years – for free. Book here.

Interested in a guided tour of the city of Lucca? Click on the banners 👇

What to see near Lucca with children

1. A day in Pisa

2. Pinocchio Park

3. Devil’s Bridge

4. Pistoia: Zoo and Pistoia Sotterranea

5. Siena with children

Do you need travel insurance? As a reader of BimbeinViaggio, you are entitled to a 5% discount.

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Lucca with children: the paper guide

Lucca
map of lucca

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