Lucca is one of my favourite towns in Tuscany. I typically drive in although you can take the intercity train direct from Florence to arrive in front of its intact walls.
If you arrive by train you can pick up a bike rental as soon as you exit the Station. See the old walls of the city in front of you. The first thing to do is to take a ride around its intact 3km walls to view monuments
If biking is not for you Lucca is a very easy city to walk around as it is not a ‘hill town’. It is however built on Roman Planning so like most historical cities it is a labyrinth!!
The local food is fantastic as you have the best of both worlds only 20km away from the coast so there are a number of delicious fish meals and surrounded by the mountains including the Garfagnana where you can find excellent meats, spelt & some of the best EVO in Tuscany and more!!
The pastry shops are some of my favourite in Italy. Family run pretty stores with gorgeous displays and even better tasty cakes, biscotti, chocolate and of course the local sweet bread called ‘Buccellato’.
Just like the French with their morning walk to their local Boulengerie for a Baguette. The Lucchese morning tradition is to buy a loaf of this delicious sweet bread made with sultana, aniseed and glossed with a sugar and egg glaze.
The original form was ring shape and it is an ancient recipe has been made for over 130 years in the historical centre. I love it warm with a little butter!! or after dinner a slice of dried buccellato with dessert wine.
This guide will give you an insight of where to eat the Buccellato, local food and artisanal products are in Lucca.
LOCAL BARS & CAFES
Piazza San Michele 34
The oldest pastry shop in Lucca. Since 1881 the family run cafe today celebrating its fifth generation. Giacomo Taddeucci developed Buccellato a secret recipe that continues to be made at the same location for over 130 years.
Famous personalities have frequented the lounge area of the traditional caffe over the years.
The Buccellato is also made with the chestnut version. You can taste other specialties that are made on site including chocolate, nougat & panforte. Situated in the Piazza San Michele it is the perfect stop for a hot chocolate, tea or coffee with delicious local sweets.
Via San Paolino 35
The perfect morning cappuccino stop with a slice or two of Buccellato served warm. You can smell the freshly baked Buccellato as you walk inside. You can find other typical pastries and perfect breakfast foods. Sweet and savoury. Including a well known cake from Lucca called ‘Torta Con i Becchi’ asweet and savoury cake made with spinach, pine nuts, raisins, rosemary, lemon and liquer.
There is an abundance of fantastic chocolate shops in Lucca. Mostly because the town is geographically situated in the Chocolate Valley from Pistoia to Pontadera there are some of the best chocolate makers in the country.
Chocolat is a pretty store with it glass jars filled with chocolate delights and charming wooden flooring it is a true chocolate boutique.
La Buca di San Antonio dal 1782
Via della Cervia 3
This ancient Taverna has been serving excellent local fair since 1782. Owners Franco Barbieri and Guliano Pacini have continued serving excellent local cuisine making this restaurant one of Lucca’s best.
Piazza San Quirico 1
An elegant family run restaurant of haute cuisine. You can enjoy the excellence of Seasonal Tuscan Cuisine. Using only top quality fresh fish and local meats. Other excellent products include truffles, mushrooms from the Garfagnana Mountains. All of the ingredients are selected by the owners. I particularly love sitting outside on the veranda.
Ristorante Antica Locanda dell’angelo
Via Pescheria 21
A historical restaurant that has been run for many years by a Native Sicilian family. Delicious fish and meat dishes are available and traditional Luccese recipes with Sicilian twist are served. Be sure to leave space for dessert!
Osteria la Baralla dal 1860
Via Anfiteatro 9
Situated just out side of the Roman Walls of Piazza Anfiteatro. There is outdoor and indoor seating. A very typical and local Osteria that serves seasonal dishes like Tortilla Lucchese, Pumpkin and Pecorino Ravioli, Cod with chic pea and more!
Ristorante Orto Elisa
Via Elisa 17
Just near the Porta Elisa you will find this charming Restaurant. It looks more like a Parisian Bistrot with its classic checked tiles and pretty dining rooms. Ristorante Orto Elisa serves delicious local Lucchese fair.
Il Cuore Enogastronomia
Via del Battistero 6
Just off the Piazza Napoleone you will arrive in charming square called Piazza S.Giusto. On the right hand corner you will see the outside tables of Il Cuore Bistrot and just next door you will arrive at Food Heaven ‘Il Cuore Enogastronomia’. Here you can find local delicacies like the white truffle from San Miniato when in season, lean and delicious salami of wild boar, the typical sweet pastries of Lucca made with vegetables like spinach and carrot. A selection of the delicious local cheese. You can also pick up a few to go meals at this glorious delicatessen that is not to be missed.
Forno Alimentari – G.Giuriani
Via Fillungo 239
This delicatessen reminds me of Florence when I arrived 16 years ago you could find many family run places like this with locals that have lived in the city all their lives are running. You can see the clientele has remained the same for years.
At Forno Alimentari – G. Giurlani you can pick up some Lucchese Focaccia, take a slice of the famous ‘Torta con i Becchi’ pick up a few slices of ‘linchetto’ a cured beef served by the slice similar to Bresoala. In fact you can buy just about anything in this store just like a delicatessen should be.
FASHION – LOCAL ARTISANS
Via Santa Croce 20
The perfection of Lucia Giovannetti’s jewerly design is unique. An Elegance of Tuscan artisanal design. Lucia’s style is traditional with a contemporary flair. Check out her workshop and store in the city centre. Lucia also has a boutique in Forte de Marmi if you happen to be in the fashionable coastal town you can also see her small elegant boutique.
Piazza Anfiteatro 31
You can now find Le Sorelle Stores in Florence and San Gimignano. Although their original store in Lucca is still my favourite. The owners are from Lucca. They are a family of innovative contemporary artisans a group of lovely sisters (hence the name The Sisters). Their range of beautiful Tuscan prints on Table ware, hand made soaps and pottery are all the perfect imagery of the Tuscan Landscapes.
Their newest entry is a collection of washable paper products called Uashamama see a selection of gorgeous design made with this material.
Via Fillungo 119
Don’t let the name fool you this is one of the best shoe stores in Tuscany! In fact I will typically go to Lucca during sale time (coming up by the way July!) just to buy shoes from their fab store. See a selection of fantastic Italian Brands and a few funky international styles along with a few interesting bags, accessories and clothing.
Lucca Urban Adventures
For small group food tours check out Chiara and her team of experts in Lucca for fantastic off the beaten path experiences.
Be sure to use the following 10% promo code for any tours UAFLO