Aerial View of the city walls at Lucca, Tuscany Italy

Livorno Cruise Port to Lucca: DIY Guide to Tuscan Gem

Seeking a relaxed taste of Tuscany without the blockbuster crowds? Lucca might be your perfect match! This charming city, with its intact Renaissance walls and easy-going vibe, is readily accessible from Livorno cruise port by train. Ditch those tour group itineraries and discover Lucca’s hidden gems, leafy city-top parks, and delicious cuisine at your own pace.

Not sure Lucca is the right destination? Read your options in my Livorno cruise port guide โ€“ Florence, Pisa and Livorno โ€“ theyโ€™re all there to help you decide!

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From Livorno Cruise Port: Is a DIY Excursion Easy: ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž (Straightforward)

Lucca’s proximity to Livorno and Pisa makes it an ideal choice for a DIY day trip. Here’s why I consider it straightforward:

  • Frequent trains: Regular departures between Pisa and Lucca offer flexibility, even with a change required at Pisa.
  • No pre-booking pressure: Lucca isn’t as crowded as its famous neighbours, so you can enjoy a more spontaneous and relaxed visit.
  • Easy to combine with Pisa: Its close location makes Lucca a perfect add-on to a Pisa trip, especially if you have the flexibility to adjust your itinerary on the day.

Keen to combine Pisa with Lucca?

  • Booked the Leaning Tower? Don’t risk missing your time slot! Prioritize Pisa in the morning, then head to Lucca if you have time.
  • Not climbing the Tower? You’ll have greater flexibility. If you decide Pisa isn’t for you, it’s easy to hop on a train to Lucca.

Note: I recommend visiting Pisa first and then Lucca if you have time.

Read my Livorno Guide on how to get from Livorno cruise port to Livorno train station for train connection to Lucca.

  • Arrival at Lucca Station: Lucca station is located just outside the city walls. It’s 15 minutes’ walk to the heart of the wall city.
  • Walking is best: Lucca is best explored on foot, allowing you to fully appreciate its charming streets and piazzas. However, if you find yourself on the opposite side of town and want to avoid a longer walk back to the station, buses operate around the city walls. Simply tap your contactless card to board, and a single ticket costs โ‚ฌ1.70.
  • Recommended Transport App: Use Google Maps to navigate around the city & bus routes (if you need them) to return to the station
  • Official websites: Turismo Lucca, Autolinne Toscane (for bus info) and TrenItalia to check train timetables
  • My Lucca Map: The attractions I mention below ๐Ÿ‘‡ are in my map of Lucca; click on the upper right hand corner of the map to see a bigger version:

Must-Do’s in Lucca

Lucca offers a delightful blend of iconic sights and the simple joy of strolling its charming streets. Here’s what not to miss:

1. Cycle (or Stroll) the City Walls

City Walls of Lucca, aerial view, Tuscany, Italy
City Walls of Lucca. Image credit: Wikipedia

Lucca’s Renaissance-era walls are one of its most unique features. Unusually for the era, they were never breached, resulting in their excellent preservation. Today, those defensive walls are transformed into a wide, tree-lined park encircling the city โ€“ perfect for cycling or strolling. A full loop is about 4km (2.5 miles), offering beautiful views of Lucca’s historic center and the surrounding Tuscan countryside.

Rent a bike (tandems and family-friendly options available) or simply enjoy the walk. Look for grassy areas, perfect for a picnic under the shady trees, as you soak up a bit of Lucca’s rich history within this extraordinary setting.

2. Aqueduct of Nottolini

Aqueduct of Nottolini in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Photo by Tom Van Dyck

The Aqueduct of Nottolini is a striking landmark just outside Lucca’s city walls. Built in the early 19th century, this Neoclassical structure features over 400 arches that once carried water into the city. Today, it’s a popular spot for a scenic walk or bike ride, offering views of the surrounding hills and a glimpse into Lucca’s engineering history.

Tip: This is around the corner from the train station (see map above). So if you’re interested to see this, make this your first stop before walking to the city walls or town centre.

3. Piazza dell’Anfiteatro

Aerial view of Piazza dell'Anfiteatro in Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Piazza dell’Anfiteatro, Image credit: Wikipedia

Built on the footprint of a Roman amphitheater, this oval-shaped piazza is the heart of Lucca. Its unique shape and surrounding buildings make it a true sight to behold. Grab a seat at one of the many cafes, order an espresso, and soak up the lively atmosphere. Watch locals strolling, children playing, and admire the beautiful architectureโ€”it’s classic Tuscan living at its finest.

This charming oval-shaped piazza, built on the site of a Roman amphitheater, is the heart of Lucca. Grab a coffee, soak up the atmosphere, admire the surrounding buildings, and enjoy a classic slice of Lucchese life.

4. Guinigi Tower

Guinigi Tower at Lucca, Italy
Image by SILKE from Pixabay

Spotting Guinigi Tower is easy โ€“ it’s the one with trees growing on top! This iconic structure offers a fascinating climb to panoramic views of Lucca. After ascending the stairs, you’ll emerge onto a rooftop garden with oak trees, a quirky and unforgettable sight. From above, you can trace the line of the city walls, spot other towers, and admire Lucca’s charming terracotta rooftops.

Insider Tip: If the Guinigi Tower is too crowded, the Torre delle Ore (Clock Tower) also offers a worthwhile climb and lovely Lucca vistas. You can also climb the Cathedral Tower but it is not as high (see below)

5. Lucca’s Duomo (Cathedral of San Martino)

Duomo Cathedral in Lucca, Italy
Image by DarioPanella from Pixabay

While less famous than Pisa’s Cathedral, Lucca’s Duomo is a stunning example of Romanesque architecture with a richly decorated facade. Admire the intricate carvings, marble columns, and beautiful mosaics that adorn its exterior. Step inside and appreciate the soaring ceilings, colorful stained glass, and the intricate “Last Supper” by Tintoretto.

  • Opening Hours: Cathedral Mon-Fri 9:30am – 5pm, Sat 12 – 4pm, Sun 12 – 6pm. Bell Tower & Cathedral Museum Mon-Fri 10am – 5pm, Sat-Sun 10am – 6pm
  • Tickets: Combined ticket for Cathedral, Bell Tower & Museum is โ‚ฌ10 adults, โ‚ฌ7 for kids & students, โ‚ฌ20 family ticket. Bell Tower only is โ‚ฌ3

Insider Tip: The Duomo Museum houses religious artifacts and treasures, offering a glimpse into Lucca’s artistic and spiritual heritage if you have time.

6. Puccini Museum: A Tribute to Lucca’s Musical Son

Lucca was the birthplace of renowned opera composer Giacomo Puccini, and his legacy is celebrated at the Puccini Museum. Housed in his family home, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the composer’s life and work. Explore rooms filled with memorabilia, manuscripts, photographs, and personal belongings. Opera lovers will appreciate the audio excerpts of his famous operas playing throughout the house.

7. Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Mansi

Immerse yourself in the opulent world of Lucca’s wealthy merchants at the Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Mansi. This grand palace, once home to the Mansi family, has been transformed into a museum showcasing their luxurious lifestyle. Wander through richly decorated rooms adorned with original furnishings, tapestries, paintings, and silk textiles. The highlight is the beautifully restored “Bedroom of the Spouses,” offering a glimpse into aristocratic life of centuries past.

A Taste of Lucchese Flavours

Calling all foodies! Lucca offers a chance to savor the authentic flavors of Tuscany. Don’t miss these Lucchese specialties:

  • Tordelli Lucchese: These large, meat-filled ravioli in a hearty meat sauce are a classic Lucca dish. Their unique shape and rich flavor are sure to delight.
  • Buccellato: This sweet anise-flavored bread, studded with raisins, is a beloved Lucchese treat. Perfect with coffee or a glass of sweet Vin Santo wine.
  • Zuppa alla Frantoiana: A hearty and simple vegetable soup, often made with seasonal ingredients. A true taste of the Tuscan countryside.

Lucca may be smaller than its neighbors, but it packs a big dose of Tuscan charm. From its walkable streets to its laid-back atmosphere, it’s the perfect escape from cruise-ship crowds. If you found this guide helpful, please share it with fellow cruisers. Wishing you happy travels in Tuscany!

Featured Image courtesy of Turismo Lucca

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