Things to do
Things to do
You can also use the train to head into the Garfagnana, the valley that runs along the Apuan Alps and perfect starting point for hiking in the mountains.
You can't see as much of the Ponte della Maddelena (10K North of Lucca) (or Ponte del Diavolo (Devil's bridge)) as you used to be able to, due to the dam downstream, but this narrow five arched bridge of the fourteenth century is nevertheless very impressive. Sitting on now submerged islets, there are five asymmetrical arches, the largest of which spans 37 metres.
To the east of Barga is the village of Coreglia Antelminelli, (31K North of Lucca) an important stronghold of the powerful Castracani family during mediaeval times - traces of their defensive works can still be seen. The figurine museum houses a wide variety of plaster figurines and statues. The process and style was developed around Coreglia and Tereglio during the 16th and 17th centuries and exported all over the world courtesy of the large number of emigrant artisans from this area. The museum contains a workshop dedicated to the making of such figures.
Montecarlo (20K from Lucca), with its bell tower of the collegiate church, is visible for miles all around. The wines of Montecarlo are unusual in that they use a relatively high proportion of French grape varieties in their blend.
4 important villas of the Lucca area:
Villa Torrigiani Camigliano, 7K North-East of Lucca;
Villa Reale, Via Fraga Alta, Marlia, 5K North-East of Lucca
Villa Mansi, Segromigno in Monte, near Marlia
Villa Garzoni Collodi, between Lucca and Pescia
In Collodi, (17K North of Lucca) a small town not far from Pistoia, you can visit the very original Pinocchio Park dedicated to the famous long-nosed marionette. The park is set up completely outdoors. Walking inside the large garden, surrounded by the well-cared after vegetation, you’ll find all the main protagonists of the story: Pinocchio, the Fairy with Turquoise Hair, the Cat and the Fox and many other characters from the novel virtually accompany visitors and remind them some of the most relevant passages of the book.
The Grotta del Vento, a beautiful system of caves and grottoes that wind underneath the Pania Secca where several tours have been set up.
The canyon carved out of the rock over thousands of years ,The Orrido di Botri (47K North of Lucca) is a deep limestone gorge carved by the Rio Pelago. The area is located in the municipality of Bagni di Lucca, in the Val Fegana, under the slopes of the Tre Potenze and Rondinaio mountains.
Bagni di Lucca's spa, (20K North of Lucca) the springs of the hills of Corsena are all sulphate-bicarbonate-calcium and have temperatures between 54.1°C/130°F and 36.5°C/98°F. The spa uses 25 springs.
Barga (25K North of Lucca) is part of hidden Tuscany, a town with a view of the Apuan Alps in a region known as the Garfagnana, north of the town of Lucca. Barga, along with other small villages around it, has a link to Scotland, as many Italians went there to find work in leaner times. Some returned to open shops in Barga. You'll see not only Scottish crafts, but hear English spoken more often than you'd think in an out-of-the-way village.
Lucca is less than half an hour from the Tuscan coast.
If you are on holiday in Versilia, there are many fine places to visit between its beaches and its hinterland. There are, for example, Pietrasanta, Marina di Pietrasanta, Forte dei Marmi, Seravezza, Stazzema, Camaiore, Lido di Camaiore, Massarosa, Viareggio, and Torre del Lago Puccini.
Viareggio (19K from Lucca), holds one of the largest and most celebrated carnival festivals in Italy, drawing over a million people. The elaborate parade, running along the seafront promenade, is usually held the three Sundays before carnevale, the day of carnevale (Shrove Tuesday), and the Sunday following. Museo Cittadella del Carnevale - The Carnival Citadel Museum has an exhibition of floats, masks, carnival postcards, and other memorabilia related to carnevale. It's currently open Saturday and Sunday afternoons and admission is free.
Beaches - The coast is lined with sandy beaches, most part of privately owned facilities although there is a free beach area in the south part of the city. For a price at the private beach establishments, you get a beach chair and umbrella and use of facilities like changing rooms and restrooms. Most facilities have a snack bar too. The sea is usually calm and good for swimming.
Forte dei Marmi (36K from Lucca), is known for its clean, sandy beaches. Every Wednesday there is a market that deals in designer clothing, among other things.
Pietrasanta (25K North West of Lucca), A busy little town, Pietrasanta is historically and artistically the chief town of inland Versilia. Share a coffee with marble sculptors from all over the world and maybe even visit a marble workshop. The town has a pleasant historical centre, and the main piazza is often decorated with exhibitions of modern sculpture.