You will be amazed by the over 4 km of defence walls that form a protective circle around the city, that are very much intact apart from a few small breaks by the old gates. The wall dates back to the 17th century, and once you are within the walls, the amazement continues.
Lucca oozes class and elegance, which you will see for yourselves as you wander around and discover the stylish locals in cosy cafes, and the many fashion shops. Dining here is also a wonderful experience with a great choice of cosy eatery's serving simple menus of local specialities to more refined restaurants such as Giglio and Buca di Sant'Antonio which have surprisingly moderate prices compared to cities like Siena and Florence.
Stroll up to the Duomo di San Martino and see how it dominates with its impressive facade and with attributes from the 5th century to as late as the 13th century. See the San Michele in Foro church in the main square, which as well as probably having Tuscany’s most impressive Roman facade, has the town’s highest bell tower. Inside there is a beautiful crucifix and a fine altarpiece by Filippino Lippi.
Slightly west of San Michele you find San Paolino, a gloomy Baroque church, whose only claim to fame is that it houses the bones of Lucca’s patron saint, and that it was one of the first churches where Puccini played as an organist.
Other interesting sights include the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, the majority of whose bricks were reused to build churches in the 12th century. There was once a Roman amphitheatre on this site, and the town square still retains the shape of the theatre. Some parts of the theatre’s walls are still detectable in the surrounding houses, particularly towards the north.
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Since Giacomo Puccini was born and raised and took his first musical steps in Lucca of which the city's people are very proud, so you will of course find many opera posters and postcards sold everywhere, and in the master's birth house is a small museum of his life and work. If you are lucky, you can experience one of his operas in the city's magnificent opera house, Teatro del Giglio, which through the decades has seen many of the greatest singers and whose atmosphere is incomparable.
Between late July and the 2nd half of August around four different operas including Puccini's works and also pieces by Mascagni, Leoncavallo or Bizet are performed by the lake at Massaciuccoli, approx 18 km from Lucca. Before he died, Puccini expressed to his friend Giovacchino Forzano that he would like to see one of his operas performed in a theatre along the shores of the lake. This he never lived to see, but just six years after his death, the Teatro dei Quattromila was erected and has since played host to Puccini festival every year. It is an impressive location from where to enjoy a performance.
Lucca also offers many other musical experiences. It culminates each year with the summer festival Lucca Summer Festival, where the city's squares are home to concerts with big international names. It started in 1998 with Bob Dylan, and since then has been impressive range of artists including Oasis, Ray Charles, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Eric Clapton, Gossip, Elton John, Sigur Ros, Simply Red, Liza Minelli, The Killers, Burt Baccherach etc. and so on.
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