City walls, Lucca
Lucca’s medieval city walls, which date from the early 1500s, are still in very good condition, which is rare for this part of Italy. A large pathway surrounded by lots of trees and greenery runs around the top of the walls and provides excellent viewing points of Lucca and its beautiful architecture. Within some parts of the walls, there are hidden rooms and passageways that may be viewed on a booked tour. This is a must-do for any visitor to Lucca since it’s somewhat unique to the region and it’s a big part of the town’s history.
You can jog, walk our cycle it, However you decide to do, make it top of your list. The best way to see the city is to do a circut of these perfectly intact medieval walls.
Its Ideal for families with children as the ramparts are dotted with picnic spots and playparks and the tree-lined promenades are pefect to people watch during the eveing passagata ......with a bottle of wine, of course!
I would recommend doing the 4 km route as one of your first activities whilst in Lucca as it gives you a good idea to the city layout.
Lucca and its city wall is home to several gates which are all well worth seeing, because of the different architectural styles.
Porta San Pietro was erected in 1566 and is located at the southern side of the city wall. If you go clockwise around the city wall from here you will see Porta Sant Anna, Porta San Donato (1629), Porta Santa Maria (1593), Porta San Jacopo and Porta Elisa (1804). Porta Sant Anna and Porta San Jacopo were added much later than the other gates.
The Porta Santi Gervasio e Protasio was part of the medieval circle of walls and is nowadays situated inside the city walls.
The city wall with its 6 gates can be found just around the compact old town of Lucca. The street Via Elisa passes through the Porta Santi Gervasio e Protasio inside the city walls.
Whenever great walls are thought of, most people may say China has a great wall. Yes, but so does Italy. Lucca, has had a wall since the Roman times and has been updated and reinforced throughout history. Standing 40' high and 60' wide, enclosing the city with a circular 3 miles of protection, that today has become a beautiful parkland path.
This great wall of Lucca offers locals and tourists alike the fun way to see Lucca. You can walk, jog, run, bike, and even rollerskate this fabulous wall. When visiting Lucca, it is a must thing to do. The view of gardens on patios, the church bell towers, the winding streets, and the beauty of the buildings all take on a special feel from on high. The best part is that there are paths, not stairs, that you can walk to get to the top. A tourist treat when visiting Lucca.
The fortifications that surround the historic part of the city date back to the early 16th century. When Lucca grew bigger, instead of tearing down the walls as it's been done in so many cities, the fortifications were left entirely intact and the rest of the city simply grew outside the walls, which of course greatly contributes to the unique atmosphere you find in the historic part of Lucca. Now that the fortifications don't serve any kind of defense purposes anymore, a track has been paved on top of the 12-feet-high walls that makes for an awesome bike path (see my Sports Travel tip!) or a really nice promenade, offering great views of both the city and the surrounding countryside. I thought it was especially fun to be there on a Sunday afternoon, when both tourists and locals meet up for a lazy stroll around the city. Going all the way around the fortifications allows you to see the old city's six gates and 11 bastions, covering a total distance of about 4 km.
Although Lucca's main fortifications date back to the early 16th century, four gates and city walls were put up in the Middle Ages, made of wood and stone and covered with plaster. These old fortifications have for the most part been destroyed, but the Porta di San Gervasio, dating back to 1255, remains. The original city walls were about 12 m high, surrounded by a moat (you can still see the little canal next to Porta di San Gervasio). The gate, which consisted of two towers linked by a walkway, was at that time equipped with a drawbridge and people who were granted access to the city could enter through the gate's 8-m-tall arched doorway. The Porta di San Gervasio has now partly been converted into private residences.
The historical center of Lucca is surrounded by well preserved ramparts. These were built in four stages. At the beginning they were constructed in Roman times. Later the walls were rebuilt between XI and XII centuries. The third phase of the building began in the XVI century and finished in 1544. The present construction dates from 1547 to 1650.
The walls are 12 meters tall. The top of the walls are paved and lined with trees. You can walk or cycle on them.
From the walls you can enjoy various nice areas of Lucca.
Lucca still has its complete circuit of medieval walls, an imposing sight for any visitor. These walls are among the thickest of any that I saw in Europe. The Romans constructed the first set of walls, with four gates. Then, the town built new ones in the 11th and 12th centuries, some of which remain visible today. The 17th century saw the last major wall construction. If you have time, take a stroll all the way around the walls.
Most of Italian towns had town walls but most of them were destroyed either thanks to Napoleon or thanks to Mussolini or thanks to local administrators in the 60's. I cannot understand how Lucca's walls could survive but I am very happy about it.
They are very well preserved and you can joint every type of sport activities there; running, biking, rollerblades or walking. Of course you can have a pic-nic. I suggest you to rent a bike.
There are many things going on at the City walls. By day you can hire bikes which is an incredibly popular thing to do in the whole of Lucca. While I was there, there was a farmers market, stalls, street performers... quite lively! By night it's good for a romantic stroll, though you'll have to try to ignore the rather passionate teenagers with their boyfriends and girlfriends, I found it pretty funny how open they were, though I guess us Irish aren't renowned for being openly romantic?! haha
The walls are stunning though, treelined and just a generally relaxing place to be. My brother in law went for an early morning run around them each morning so if you're feeling energetic you could try that too! (Not for me though haha)
Lucca's ancient walls are a very popular place to walk. For that matter, they are a good place to bicycle, jog or just plain stroll. Wide and tree lined, the view from the walls inside or outside of the city is terrific.
The distance around the ramparts is approximately 4 km if you're keeping track. Perfect exercise for that last gelato you had in the afternoon.
The walls of Lucca are really tree-lined promenades, which offer magnificent views of the city. They encircle the city and add to the ancient ambience.
By the time the walls were completed in1645, they were thought to be some of the most advanced of their times. In one book, I read that "their most curious feature was the open space that lay beyond them, and which survives to this day, cleared to prevent the enemy from taking cover in trees and undergrowth."
I find it ironic that these walls were never used to defend the city; thus, they were eventually converted into the promenade and public park that they are today.
Allan and I walked around the walls at our leisure. It seemed so strange to be up so high, greeting other walkers knowing that these very walls played such a part in Lucca's history.
There is even a restaurant atop the wall!
It was fun to see young people playing soccer in the huge grassy area below the wall. But what is really so neat is to see both inside and outside the walls. The city beyond the walls is so modern; inside, it's as though time stands still.
Lucca's a lovely little town in northern Toscana. The old city, the heart of the town, is still surrounded by a perfectly preserved medieval wall. The wall is perfect for a stroll, however, give yourself at least a couple of hours; you'll want to take it steady since the surrounding area is so beautiful!
Inside the wall you'll find shops, cafes, art, architecture & at least 3 gothic churches. It's also a nice place to go after you visit Pisa to the south in the morning.
An unexpected bonus: on the road from Pisa to Lucca, near the town of San Giuliano Terme, you can see part of the ancient Pisa aqueduct. I can't remember exactly where it is but its hard to miss. I don't know if passersby are permitted to see it up close, it may be on private property, so don't wander out to it on my advice! I'm sure no one will begrudge you pulling over to the side of the road to take a look tho...
The walls of Lucca go all around the city. You can rent bikes and bike around the city walls or take a nice walk. When you walk into the main part of the city from the Train station you will see the walls and then you have to walk through them to get into the main city.
I know it looks like your average street, but this one is a little different. One of Lucca's more prominent features is its surrounding wall, still completely intact after all of these years. There are several places throughout the city to rent bicycles and most I've encountered speak a little english but it's not really all that important. They know what you're there for.