I spent 5 nights at Ostello San Frediano, just inside the remparts at Porta Santa Maria. To situate it from the start, it's by the Basilica di San Frediano and minutes on foot from the oval Anfiteatro.
Reception is well organised and helpful. I had advised them that I would be arriving by car and they had informed me that they had free parking. I was able to drive to the front of the hostel easily, and the attendant immediately showed me how to go around to the parking (there's a gate, which she lifted by a button from inside.)
The rooms are cleaned thoroughly each morning and the staff were all very pleasant. Large windows opened onto a quiet garden area in the back. Lockers were big enough for a suitcase or backpack, and quite deep so there was room for lots more. Also, they had a bar with hangers, which I always find useful.
The bathrooms are each used by 2 dormitories, large sink space, excellent showers, clothes hangers and benches for your things. Large windows there too. Very clean. I never had to wait. There are toilets on all floors in case that's all you want.
There is a large dining-room downstairs, where breakfast is served. I only used it once and breakfast was good, juice, croissants, butter, jam, and they make a fresh pot of good coffee for each guest.
I didn't go back after the first morning because although there were only 3 persons eating when I was there, it took 20 minutes to get even a cup of coffee. And I had said on arrival that a coffee was really all I wanted.
The manager and the waitress were having a private conversation and ignored me when I asked again after 10 minutes. The manager waved at me rudely and said "Just be patient!" Well okay, but it would have helped to know they were making a pot of 6 cups just for me (and that it took their machine 20 minutes to produce that!)
Reception staff is good at answering various questions about Lucca and they'll mark things on a gift map for you. They were also good with passing me my messages and really facilitated check-in and check-out for me.
The outstanding quality of Ostello San Frediano for me was its location. I could walk everywhere inside the historic centre in minutes, yet my area was a haven of peace.
At the corner, in front of the Basilica, there's a café terrace that stays open very late. In fact, I think they only close when the last customer leaves. A favourite hang-out for the young crowd of Lucca (I noticed because I went for Aperitivo around 7 p.m. and it was always lively, good music, etc. And I always ended the evening there, around midnight, with a book and a glass of wine. I think it's called Lucca Dentro... I thought the owner had a funny name but come to think of it, it must mean "Inside the walls". I tend to take things too literally...
Another thing I loved was that it's a large building, with space to move freely everywhere. The parking by the garden is also very practical and safe.
This hotel is a small, cozy family owned facility. It costa about 70.00€ a night and it includes a Continental breakfast. The rooms have a bathroom/shower facility and a TV, central HVAC. There is also free parking and no swimming pool. I recommend it because the staff is so friendly and they always recommend what to do and where to eat while in Lucca or the vicinity, and they have never been wrong. I've been there four times.
The cleanliness of the rooms and the friendliness of the staff is what we like best. They make me feel right at home.
We stayed at this home which had 5 apartments for weekly rent. Believe it, the cost was 40 Euro a night, or 600 Euro for 15 days. Location was the reason for the choice. It is 500 years old but some modernization has been done.
Peaceful garden and pool to use. Giovonni and Tutti are the owners, retired and tried to make a side job out of this. It is full time. They are gracious hosts and savvy about helping the American tourist to find his way. They were impressed in our attempts to speak the language and know the area as we did for our daily trips.
This was a nice apartment on the 2nd floor (3 rd US). It was a studio with a large double bed on the mezzanine, and a single bed and double sofa bed in the living room. The stairs to the mezzanine were steep but had a hand rail and there was a nice high railing on the mezzanine. The kitchen was fully furnished with a full size refrigerator. Nice bathroom with shower. No washing machine but a self-serve laundry is just a couple doors down the street. All the shops you could want are within walking distance as are an ATM and bike rental. Steps into the apartment are steep but doable. Rent was about Euro 450 for a week.
Very nice landlady who picked us up at the train station and took us to the apartment. Apartment is well equipped. It is inside the walls. Monique had a nice bottle of Prosecco chilled and waiting for us and brought flowers from her garden for the apartment.
This first floor apartment was a welcoming secure haven for our stay in Lucca.
It consisted of an entry hall with lounge chairs, 2 bedrooms (one double, one twin with beautiful bed linen), bathroom and well equipped kitchen.
The whole aprtment was equipped with a range of thoughtful extras, from tourist information, to umbrellas, to coffee, to a stock of excellent wine available on an honour system at the rate of 5 Euros a bottle.
There was a welcome tray of wine and snacks when we arrived, and Violetta provided us with masses of information, including a helpful orientation folder. She left us with her telephone number for emergencies and called to see how we were managing.
We had a small balcony off the main bedroom where we were able to hang washing as well as to look out over the gardens of the Villa Buonvisi opposite.
This is the perfect place in winter and summer. You can go skying as they have a couple of skilift, walking as there are many mountains routes and eating as their menu is superb!!
There are a lot of hotel, pension and b&b in the old town, all of them are cute and nice and there is room for every level of price.
I want to suggest here the youth hostel. It's an old building just beside the Walls (inside) and next to San Frediano Church very close to Via Fillungo with a huge green garden.
The rooms, as far as I can see from the Walls when the windows are opened :), are nice and well kept and the price is low.
A very nice place to stay just 10 minutes outside of
Lucca's old city center is the Villa Giavaninni.
The owner and operator is Lucia, one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. She speaks fluent English and will give you good suggestions for day trips and restaurants. Lucia's family has owned the villa since the 16th century. It is well decorated and cozy. the upper apartment with two bedrooms and sitting room is quite lovely, and would make a perfect accomodation for a family with children. The breakfasts are welcoming, fresh and filling. The villa is decorated with lovely Italian antiques and warm sepia colors. You definately feel like you're in Tuscany.
The villa is a lovely 16th century manor home painted a Tuscan shade of coral. Chickens run around the premises, and their are olive groves on the surrounding countryside. The gardens are really charming and Lucia makes you feel like you are staying with family.
Here you can see how the room at hotel Cavaliere was and how comfy the separate beds are ;o)
The man sleeping on the bed is my father. I went on holiday to Italy with him, because one year he goes on holiday with my brother and the next year with me. The reason: my mother is since two years no longer there to go on holiday with him unfortunately :o(
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