For those who don’t know yet, Lucca is a charming city of Tuscany that is located between Pisa and Firenze, but slightly more up north. My friend and colleague Stefano is from there and he made an invitation for the weekend, so me and other friends couldn’t say no to his kind offer. Actually I had been wanting to visit Lucca for a while, back since I started hearing him speak so proudly about his city (more like bragging to be precise) and also because I had already read some interesting articles about the city famous wall and towers.
Indeed, Lucca is a beautiful city, it is charming, yet less chaotic in terms of tourism than some of its Tuscan counterparts, even if you will always find some tourists wandering the streets (but it is Italy, so you already expect it). Lucca reminds itself, it is old, with a lot of history, yet with a young vibe and I loved that mix of old fashioned buildings and establishments in the center, with some hipster stores and concepts (like “Ciclo DiVino” bike caffe).
Friday night, when we arrived, we had a sandwich for dinner. But noo..this was no ordinary sandwich. La Tana Del Boia was the small Panineria that served us the most amazing sandwich in wooden oven bread that made me forget how tired I was. We all chose our panino (I chose the porchetta sandwich that was really good), the artisan beer to go with it and we found ourselves a good table, to not talk with each other until we had no more food on our hands. I must admit that that these panini made my trip worth foodwise.
Saturday we went to this restaurant for lunch, Locanda Buatino, after a failed beach morning due to heavy storm and rain (why would we decide to ignore the Meteo.it and go to the beach anyway, I still don’t know. For once the Meteo was right! Great!!). The price/quality of this place amazed me, you can have really typical and well prepared food, including first and second dish and spend less than 15 euros. If you go there don’t forget to try the local typical pasta,Tordelli Lucchesi, meat raviolis with bolognese sauce. Meanwhile, we had to move a bit to digest all that food… so we climbed the beautiful Guinigi Tower, wandered throught the center and did the walk around the city wall.
At the end of the day we joined the locals for aperitivo in the city center, more specifically Piazza San Michele. Caffé del Mercato aka as Il Peschino, nicknamed in honour to its special drink, the Peschino, is the place to start (or end, depending on how many Peschinos you are having) the night out in Lucca. This drink has a secret recipe that contains canned peaches and vodka (I know, it really doesn’t seem Italian at all, but locals do really appreciate it).
On Sunday about lunch time we headed to the mountains that surround Lucca, and at Osteria Da Severino, we ordered pastas, boards with cheeses and salumi, and drank the local red wine. The food was amazing and as we went later, we had the terrace with an amazing view of the hills all to ourselves. It was the typical sunday lunch, where you eat and talk until you are about to burst with so much food, but what can you do when the place is screaming to you for that dolce fare niente.
We slowly headed back to Lucca, but not without strolling through Villa Reale gardens first. These gardens are late baroque and were designed by Morel for Napoleon’s sister (Elisa Baciocchi Bonaparte). It is beautiful there, it had a Marie Antoinette summer house vibe, basically a huge french garden in the middle of Tuscany.
That same afternoon we took the train and headed back to Rome.