CONTENTS
LOVE LUCCA!
GET CLOSER TO LUCCA
Buongiorno Michela,

Happy New Year to all our readers, regular clients, past clients and future clients!

To Tuscany have had a busy start to 2013 with bookings almost double the amount for last year. If you have a favourite place to stay or are restricted by dates to travel, you may need to get booking sooner rather than later to ensure you don't miss out.

During a recent visit to Tuscany to look at some new properties, I managed to spend some time in Lucca whilst waiting for my late afternoon flight. Below is some more information on this jewel of Tuscany and also of some properties we have in the area, two brand new for To Tuscany (we are building up our portfolio in this area so expect to see more properties in and around Lucca on our website soon).

Our English To Tuscany Facebook page continues to grow and on Twitter (@ToTuscany), we were delighted to achieve 1000 followers recently. If you havent already joined us on these social media websites, do visit our pages and join us to get tips and current information on the region.

As always, please feel free to let me know any suggestions for items you would like us to cover in our newsletters.

Dympna

dympna@to-tuscany.com

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LUCCA

Lucca by bike Located just to the north of Pisa, Lucca is often overlooked by visitors to Tuscany as they head off to the 'Golden Triangle' of Florence, Siena and Pisa; this is a mistake though! Lucca has so much to offer in the City and the surrounding areas that everyone should try to devote at least one day from their vacation to visit it.
Because of the compact size of Lucca its easy to visit all the major sites in a short period of time. My latest visit was made in the 5 hours I had until my flight back to the UK after dropping off a colleague at Pisa aiport. Whilst this did not give me time to enjoy a leisurely stroll around the many museums of Lucca, I did have time to cycle the walls, visit the Duomo, climb to the top of the Torre Giunigi, walk around the amphitheatre, have some lunch and catch up on some emails.
Surrounded by imposing 16th-17th Century fortified walls (designed to scare off those pesky Florentines), Lucca is a pedestrian paradise of approximately 1km across and 2km in length. It is packed full of places to visit and hidden streets and the walls were redesigned in the 19th Century to allow pedestrians to make a complete circuit of the town.
The Lucca Tourist Office is located just by the Porto Santa Anna gate of the City. It is packed full of information and leaflets and the staff are knowledgeable and happy to help. You can rent bikes directly from the office and they also offer internet services and a toilet!
There is a well signed tourist route around Lucca with information in Italian and English at strategic points so you know where you are; maps of the walking/cycling route are available from the Tourist Office.

The old amphitheatre Lucca
The old amphitheatre area
Taking a walk, jog or cycle along the walls is a daily event for the locals and tourists are encouraged to join in. The Lucca tourism authority have renovated many of the old buildings along the fortifications with some now used as museums and galleries. Steps and ramps (for bikes, prams and wheelchairs) are at regular intervals along the wall so if something catches your eye that you would like to visit, it will not be long before you can descend and explore.
There is a Medieval quarter still intact within the walls which gives you an idea of how life used to be in the City. At the centre of this quarter is the Piazza Anfiteatro - the Amphitheatre - which is almost a city within a city. The Romans built an amphitheatre here with a seating capacity for 10,000; when the Romans left, the amphitheatre was remodelled in to houses and shops which you can still see today. Why not let your imagination run wild with memories of Gladiator whilst sipping a coffee or aperitif within the amphitheatre.
Torre Guinigi
The Torre Guinigi is famous as 130 feet up at the top of the tower are mature oak trees! The Guinigi Family were famous 15th Century silk merchants and the original Casa Guinigi had four towers. You can climb to the top of the remaining tower for a few Euros. Note though that there are only steps to the top and some of these get quite steep and narrow in places. If you can manage the climb, you will be well rewarded with the views from the top.

Museums are everywhere in Lucca: from the house of the composer Puccini to the Comic book museum, via the National Museum and modern arts; you will be busy trying to fit them in. There are some "Tourist Cards" that you can buy which will give you reduced price entry to many of the museums, check with the Tourist Office for details and opening times.
Giacomo Puccini
Free wi-fi is available within the City walls at the Piazza Napoleone and the Piazza San Michele. There are a number of cafes and bars that also offer wi-fi in return for the purchase of at least a coffee.
You can drive a scenic route from the airport via the spa town of San Guiliano Terme or head back onto the A11 highway. There is plenty of parking inside the city walls but be warned, most of the spaces are on parking meters. There are a few car parks where you can pay on return located within the walls or there are cheaper parking areas outside of the walls. The streets are wide enough for pedestrians and cyclists to manoeuvre through (except in the medieval quarter where space is limited) and the pavements are relatively flat if you are pushing a buggy or in a wheelchair.

ACCOMMODATION IN LUCCA


Located just 8km from Lucca, the Residenza al Principe is an ideal selection for a mixture of relaxation and visiting Lucca and the surrounding area. There are 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, air-conditioning, wi-fi and the beach is around 30km away.



Il Portico is a luxurious villa with 4 double bedrooms, swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna, table-tennis table and air-conditioning located 13km from Lucca. Despite its luxury, the price is fantastic - just 150 GPB per person (based on 8) in low season and 380 per person (based on 8) in high season.

If you prefer to take advantage of local transport, Villa Saida is just a few kilometres from a train station with links to Lucca, Pisa, the coast at Viareggio and Florence. There are also plenty of choices for restaurants, cafes and shops. The Villa sleeps up to 14 people and the swimming pool is heated by solar panels.


If you wish to be based closer to the coast, La Mandolata has 5 apartments sleeping from 2-4 people and is 1km to the beach, restaurants and shops of the Lido di Camaiore area of Lucca .

For other Villas and Apartments in the Lucca area, please click here


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We hope that you have enjoyed reading our newsletter and we look forward to the 2013 season with you.