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Alternative Lucca: beyond the main monuments

Discover the best of this Renaissance city and its surrounding countryside

Thanks to its unique, intact Renaissance walls, hundreds of churches, narrow streets and perfectly preserved Roman amphitheatre, Lucca has become one of the most popular destinations in Tuscany. But beyond these historic delights, what else is there to do in the area? Lots, believe it or not! For nature lovers and those looking to explore Lucca to the fullest, we’re suggesting two itineraries: the Olive Tree Route and Gardens and Parks in Lucca.

The province of Lucca stretches from the coastline in the Versilia to the mountains in the Garfagnana, offering not only a variety of landscapes and outdoor experiences, but also the chance to be part of this culture and its traditions and to taste a range of local products. These itineraries are aimed at letting you enjoy the variety available in the province, from the city to the sea to the mountains. This is a unique chance to explore some of the lesser-known areas, rich in history, culture and traditions.

Lucca and extra-virgin olive oil: the Olive Tree Route
Olive grove
Olive grove - Credit: Shutterstock.com / Marco Bicci

If you’re looking for well-maintained nature and a relaxing lifestyle, the Olive Tree Route is the perfect option. The olive tree, a universal symbol of peace and dialogue, is mythical and sacred, as well as a source of sustenance for the people living in this area. Since the 1200s, olive trees have been planted in the hills around Lucca, making extra-virgin olive oil one of the oldest products in the province. It’s still produced on small farms, and travellers can observe the different phases of production, from the harvest to the pressing at a local mill.

If you want to follow an itinerary of this kind, please read this.

Gardens and parks in Lucca
Torre Guinigi in Lucca
Torre Guinigi in Lucca - Credit: Wikimedia

Once upon a time, noble families in Lucca flaunted their power by building wonderful villas surrounded by magnificent gardens. Because the weather here is perfect for growing plants, trees and flowers, these private parks were a fundamental part of aristocratic residences. The most famous examples are the Torre Guinigi, topped with holm-oak trees, the garden at Palazzo Pfanner, an excellent example of a Baroque garden in the heart of medieval Lucca, and the Botanic Gardens along the city walls. There are also hundreds of villas in the hills around Lucca, like Villa Torrigiani, Villa Reale, Villa Bernardini and Villa Orsi, all waiting to be explored! 

If you want to discover the beautiful villas in Lucca, read this.

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Art and Culture