Porcari is nestled in the heart of the Lucca area, on the banks of the ancient lake of Sesto, once an important crossroads between the via Francigena and the via Cassia. Written records of the Castrum Porcari date back to 780, cited by a Lombard group that settled here after leaving Calci.
Today, it's the paper eco-district, one of the Italian high-quality products, and is an unmissable stop along the stretch of the Francigena that goes from Lucca to Altopascio.
The village is dominated by the imposing white marble church dedicated to San Giusto, beside which stands a majestic bell tower. From the square in front of the church, you can enjoy a stunning view over the plain and the town below. Those who love relaxing in the countryside can walk to La Torretta, another remarkable vantage point that offers a wide view over the entire plain of Lucca. This area of almost 9 hectares has been transformed into a nature park and is almost entirely covered with pines, strawberry trees, oaks and other botanical species. At the highest point, there's also a small building called "the little tower house", which is the remains of a watchtower. This hill controlled passage between Lake Bientina and the last offshoots of the Apennines that was travelled by pilgrims on their way to Rome.
The heart of the city is the Lazzareschi Foundation, located in the centre of an charming contemporary building that hosts exhibitions and events.
Along the route of the Via Francigena in Rughi, there's a church dedicated to the Nativity of Santa Maria Santissima dating back to the Middle Ages. Inside, it's possible to admire a fine 16th century painting depicting the "Crowned Madonna and Saints".
A few kilometres from the village in what's called the "Plain of a hundred farms", it's possible to visit the Fossa Nera Archaeological Area that preserves both the fascinating remains of a village dating back to the Bronze Age, and the ruins of ancient Etruscan and Roman houses.
The Piana di Lucca boasts a rich agricultural heritage. The territory produces Lucca DOP extra virgin olive oil and Colline Lucchesi DOC white, red and Vinsanto wine. The loose soil is well suited to the cultivation of many varieties of beans which are the pride of local cuisine and a fundamental ingredient for the preparation of soups such as zuppa alla frantoiana.