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Cycling around Lucca - or strolling along the city ramparts

  • Cycling around Lucca - or strolling along the city ramparts

    Lucca lies just 28 km east of Viareggio and makes a delightful change after you’ve tired of posing and preening at the beach. Lucca is a classic Tuscan city on a human scale, with just enough cultural attractions to beguile but not bewilder. In summer, outdoor concerts add to Lucca’s appeal, as do the discreet wine bars and cosy inns. To jaded urbanities, Lucca represents life as it should be led.  Ringed by Renaissance walls, the city is made for leisure. The massive ramparts are now the place for jogging, flirting, gossiping and cycling – or several activities at once. It’s hard to believe that Lucca’s 500-year-old walls were built to keep enemies at bay. In 1817, the encircling ramparts were planted with a double row of plane trees, which shade the broad avenue ¬running along the top of the walls. This is now a popular playground, promenade, jogging trail and cycle route.

    Lucca is full of lanes too narrow for cars, so join the locals on their bicycles for an intriguing city bike trail. Every now and again, you can take the sloped exit down into town and cycle around the key sites, locking the bike up to a gate when walking around a piazza. This, combined with Lucca’s reputation for culture and ¬intellectual pursuits, has earned the city the nickname of the `Cambridge of ¬Tuscany.’ British fashion designer Paul Smith, a keen cyclist, has a home in the hills and enthuses about cycling in Lucca: “I love cycling around the walls of Lucca; it's so relaxing because there are no cars.” There is something deliciously Continental about cycling around an historic walled city, through its pretty paved streets and piazzas – ideally with a delicious deli lunch tucked away in the basket. You can hire a bike with numerous companies, including Cici Rai close to Porta San Gervasio, the San Gervasio Gate. Daily bike hire costs about €15 per day. Cycling is also a healthy alternative to a day on the beach. For more on the main attractions and dining out, see our full guide to Lucca.

    Cicli Rai (booking info), via d San Nicolao 66, Lucca
    T: (+39) 348937119 & www.ciclirai.it
    Address:

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