Lovely Lucca, Italy

by farrah on April 15, 2013 · 20 comments

I have a post brewing in my head how us moms can travel safely (and bravely) by ourselves. For those of us that don’t do it enough to be completely comfortable, I am jotting down some tips and things I’ve learned along the way. I realize that I am in a place to see some exotic places- and extremely inexpensively at that- but there’s no reason you can’t do it yourself at home (wherever that might be).

For today, however, I wanted to do a recap of lovely Lucca, Italy. I must live under a rock because I have never heard of this magical city surrounded by a giant medieval wall. It seems, though, that many people have heard of it and the comments I received on my Fb page and Instagram pics informed me that it’s a favorite among many others as well- and oh so rightfully so.

How I got there

I had my choice of about 12 cities here in Europe that fly out of Eindhoven (our nearby small airport) on a very, very inexpensive airline called RyanAir. Were there chickens flying around? Was I sitting on a bench? Absolutely not. The plane was roomy, clean and overall a very pleasant experience. In fact, it was a better flight than I have had on Southwest and Delta in my day. I also have to give them kudos for selling scratch off lottery tickets on board. How fun is that? (and no, I didn’t win anything). The biggest drawback (in my opinion) is that there aren’t seat assignments. It’s a free for all which I think when traveling in a group would be hard- but not bad at all for the solo traveler.

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Where I stayed

Undying thanks to a well established travel blogger friend Laurel of Capturing La Vita, for she not only suggested Lucca in the first place- but also the hotel. I arrived at Hotel Ilaria late Friday afternoon and was greeted by an incredibly friendly staff. They informed me about my complimentary bicycle rental, included breakfast, and lobby reception daily which had everything from espresso to prosecco. Terrific location and WHAT A ROOM! They gave me a suite in their annex building that had a loft and two bathrooms. When I walked in, the first thought was “Omg, all of this JUST FOR ME??!!“.

Do I have to say how well I slept?

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How I got around

Again, thank you to the suggestions from Laurel. I landed in Pisa and easily found the ticket counter for a bus ticket to Lucca. It cost me all of 3 euros. Right where she told me it would be- I found the bright blue bus loading on my right as you exit the front of the airport. A quick thirty minutes of waiting and the bus was off- and it would be a very scenic hour trip (due to the stops for other passengers) to Lucca. The bus brings you to the entrance of the city, and deposits you there and here you can choose to take a taxi or walk. I chose to hit the pavement myself because it was a beautiful day, I was wearing good traveling shoes and my bag wasn’t heavy. My hotel was at the other end of the city- so I bought a map at the first shop I saw and excitedly took off.

When I decided to go to Pisa and see the sights on Saturday- I took a train. I asked my hotel for directions and they sent me on my way to the outer ring of Lucca to the nearby station. A few blocks from the walls I easily found it and paid 6 euros for a round trip ticket. Make sure you know when the last train comes back! In the Netherlands I am used to trains coming every 15 minutes- but here there were only a few running and the last one returned before 2pm. *note- Word Lens App totally came in handy here at the train station! Two huge thumbs up.

Sights in Pisa- The Piazza dei Miracoli

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 I loved the tourists. At one point all of the stone pedestals were filled with people doing the ‘leaning or push’ pose.

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What I did

My favorite thing to do was simply walk around and discover the mind-boggling architecture. The colors, the cafes and restaurants around each turn put my senses into overdrive. How could they not be with sights like this????

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 I had a long lunch in the Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro. Ok. I just had a couple of drinks. But the sun was so nice!

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A salad with ewe’s cheese, atop the wall walking path, fountain everyone drinks from (I even brought some home) & the BEST cappuccino ever.

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If you ever get the chance to see Lucca- GOOOOOOO. I want to go back before we leave and this time take the hubs. We still need to see Rome at some point so what we might do is stay in Lucca and take the train to Siena, Florence and Rome. But of course- that will take some planning and decision making on if we take the boys or not. Still haven’t decided on that one. I want them to see Rome, but I also want to share it with just my husband first. Not sure how we’ll do it yet- or when, but time will tell. All in all- Lucca is probably my most favorite city to date. I am a lucky girl indeed.

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Additionally, one of my favorite posts of Laurel’s is How to be a Traveler.. Not a Tourist. I read it long before she gave me the Lucca tips- and what a perfect read it is for a trip like this!

All photos are mine taken with my iPhone (if you can believe that, and NO EDITING). If you borrow, please credit me. Thanks! More photos in my IG feed over there <——– !

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy Baserman April 15, 2013 at 10:35 am

Nice Farrah!

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2 farrah April 16, 2013 at 6:38 am

It was! It really was. Now I’m back and we have sickness in the house. Sigh.

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3 Danielle April 15, 2013 at 10:39 am

Beautiful pics. I haven’t traveled much, but Italy was definitely one of my favorite places. It’s gorgeous! I’m glad you had a nice trip. I’m sure it’s nice to be home with the boys again.

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4 farrah April 16, 2013 at 6:39 am

It is one of those places that IS as beautiful, if not more so- than what you imagine. And yes, I missed my crew dearly 🙂

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5 Kristen April 15, 2013 at 10:42 am

Sounds and looks absolutely amazing. All of those photos look like artwork you could hang on your walls. I’m so happy that you’re out there seeing and doing! xo

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6 farrah April 16, 2013 at 6:40 am

Thanks Kristen! If we ever actually get our act together that’s the plan- to print and hang the photos we take over here. Someday, right? 🙂

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7 Christie Tate April 15, 2013 at 11:08 am

Excellent. I want to go!!

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8 farrah April 16, 2013 at 6:40 am

Let me know when and I will meet you there!

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9 Jen April 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Looks amazing, we used to take trips when the inlaws came to visit and would stay at our house with the kids. Maybe you can convince one of the parents to come and have the kids for a few days!

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10 farrah April 16, 2013 at 6:41 am

They’re coming back in August- and we are already trying to decide between Corsica (a lifelong dream) or going back to Italy. I really, really want the hubs to see Lucca!!

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11 Leighann April 15, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I can’t tell you how incredible your travels seem to me. I am in awe.

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12 farrah April 16, 2013 at 6:41 am

You can do it too my friend!

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13 Stephanie April 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Oh my GOD. I HAVE to go to Italy now. I’ve always HAD to go to Italy, but now I REALLY REALLY have to go to Italy.

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14 farrah April 16, 2013 at 6:41 am

Yes, yes you do!!!

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15 antonella April 15, 2013 at 7:35 pm

thank you for coming in Lucca and talking about it!

Antonella
Local Guide in Lucca

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16 farrah April 16, 2013 at 6:42 am

Thank you for hosting me in your lovely city. The people were as friendly as the beautiful weather 🙂

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17 Laurel- Capturing la Vita April 18, 2013 at 3:12 am

I am so glad you had such a lovely time, Farrah. Isn’t Tuscany just so beautiful? I think that may be one of the best bike riding spots ever! I’m glad I was able to help 🙂

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18 farrah April 18, 2013 at 7:14 am

I cannot thank you enough. I am already trying to figure out how to get my husband to go with me next time. I know Tuscany has so much to see- it’s an internal battle wanting to go back or see something new!

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