Tip originally written November 2004 - updated September 2012.
The city buses, or navettes, are orange minibuses, which have about a dozen seats, but can carry many more standing. The routes run at intervals between 10 and 20 minutes, and we found that they were usually on time to the minute. They do stop running about 8 in the evening, so whilst you can get a bus into the centre in the evening, you will have to walk back or get a taxi. We were near enough to walk off our evening meals!
There used to be seven main routes, with different numbers in each direction, plus one circular route. Some of the routes pass near to the main tourist sites, San Martino, Piazza Napoleone, Ampteatro, San Frediano. A map of the routes can be found at http://www.vaibus.com/pdf/rete/Depliants_Lucca_new.pdf
Whilst the navettes are still running around the city centre, we didn't use them at all this year, and the numbers appear to have changed. It seems that there are now 5 routes numbered 15 to 19 and a new timetable has been issued starting from 12 September 2012.
A map of the routes can be found at
and a timetable at
Most tourists that find Lucca get a great surprise. A wonderfully kept 15th century Tuscan village. Enclosed by a great wall, parking is at a premium inside the walled city. Stay in the outer ring or if you enter one of the six portals, try to find a parking place right away. DO NOT ENTER A LTZ (limited traffic zone) without a permit. Car rental firms do not carry these permits and the cities have up to one year to fine you. Also keep your speed within the limits of the posted signs.) When you do park, make sure that you are legally parked. Check the signs for time and also look for the parking ticket dispenser that will be within a short walking distance of your parking space.
Coin only accepted and time is printed for the amount you pay. Return to your vehicle and place the ticket, face side up with the time allowed showing, on your dash panel above the steering wheel. Make sure all luggage and personal objects are either in trunk or out of sight and lock your car. Make sure your vehicles headlights are off. Or rest easy and find a parking lot near the walled city. Now you are ready to enjoy the beauty of Lucca.
Lucca is on the Florence - Viareggio train line aswell as the Pisa line. So is easily to reach from most places in Tuscany.
The station is only a few minutes walk to the city walls.
We arrived by train from Pisa, about 20-25 minutes and only a couple of euros.
With approximately 85.000 inhabitants, Lucca is relatively small. So especially the walled Old Town with its many narrow alleys and the beautiful squares is best explored on foot. Most of this area is closed for traffic anyway.
If you wear comfy shoes, I would recommend to take a walk along the complete city walls. This offers great views of the buildings and gardens inside the wall as well as of the nice landscape outside the wall.
Lucca was my last stop on my trip through Mediterranean Europe in summer 2004. I left Italy by plane from Bologna Airport, which is located about 120 km northeast of Lucca.
Other airports, which are located even closer to Lucca include Pisa (20 km) and Florence (70 km).
Bologna - Aeroporto G. Marconi:
Florence - Aeroporto die Firence:
Pisa - Aeroporto Galileo Galilei:
I arrived in Lucca by train from Venice. I had to change trains in Florence. Lucca is situated on the Florence - Viareggio train line.
Depending on the type of train it takes between 70 and 90 minutes to get to Florence, but only about 20 minutes to the coastline of Viareggio.
Lucca's train station is located just 2 minutes on foot south of the city walls. For more information about travelling by train in Italy, please also read my "Warning and Danger" tip.
Lucca can be visited as a day trip from Florence and from Pisa by bus, but I recommend to spend at least a couple of days there. There are many things to see and do in this town.
The bus station is situated in piazzale Verdi. It is inside the walls and not far from the town center.
Two bus companies operate between Lucca and many towns and villages in Tuscany. SITA and C. L. A. P.
Tickets are sold in the building at the bus station and must be validated once inside the bus.
For going from Lucca to Montecatini it's very easy and there is direct trains. Just check out the "ferrovie dello stato" web page and you can have all the information that you need about the time schedule. There are also bus (Lazzi) that starts from Piazzale Verdi in Lucca and they arrive at Montecatini Centrale station in about 40 mins. The time for the train or for the bus is, more or less, the same.
For going to Siena i think you have to go to Florence and from there change train and arrive in Siena. For that kind of trip i suggest you rent a car, also 'couse in this way you can visit the countryside from Florence to Siena that is amazing.
When we stopped off for our brief visit to Lucca we caught the train from the Cinque Terre.
To get to Lucca we changed at Viareggio. From here it is about 20 minutes to Lucca.
Lucca is also on the train line from Pisa - this trip takes 30 minutes. It is a really scenic ride, through lots of small towns, quite interesting.
The cost of catching the train from Lucca to/from Pisa is only about 2 euros.
For timetables check out the website link below.
Lucca has connections to Viareggio, Pisa, & Florence, so there is a good train service. www.trenitalia.com has a good website (with english pages) giving train times, and allowing on-line advance ticket purchasing.
Examples of travel times and fares (2004): -
Lucca to Florence 1 hour 25 to 1 hour 45 Current fare 4.60 euros single
Lucca to Pisa 25 - 35 mins current fare 2.10 euros single
Lucca to Viareggio 17 – 20 minutes current fare 2.10 euros single
I'm not gifted for Transportation Tips but I had a good experience with driving to and around Lucca, and with parking by the hostel, so I'll try to be helpful here.
If possible, have a map of Lucca before you drive there. Perhaps a Tourist Bureau at your departure point can provide this. Identify the area of Lucca where your accommodation is located and find the Public Parkings closest to it. Be aware that such Parkings are mostly just outside the walled city and that you can reach your accommodation on foot rather easily. (Or perhaps be able to drop off your luggage at the hotel and then park the car outside the Remparts... but be warned that this can be a hassle if you're not familiar with driving inside historic centres.
Lucca historic centre is surrounded by remparts called Viale delle Mura. No cars there, the Viale is for walking or biking. But just beyond it, another peripheric boulevard surrounds the Old City and this is what you drive along as you search for the area of your accommodation. The peripheric boulevard changes name as you drive, traffic is very swift and often heavy, just focus on seeing a sign with the name of the area where you wish to stop. I knew my stop was Porta Santa Maria... yet I drove all around the peripheric twice since cars were flying by when I reached *my* Porta. :)
Here's my personal experience: I arrived in Lucca from Regional Road 435 from Pistoia and Pescia. I was on the Peripheric Boulevard without knowing it. Stopped the car and asked for Porta Santa Maria, where my hostel is and was given easy directions by passers-by. (My Hostel has a parking.)
I drove along the Peripheric just a bit, slowing down when it became Viale Agostino Monti, then Viale Pompeo Batoni. There I saw a huge circle called Piazzale Martiri della Libertà. I turned LEFT to enter the historic centre through Porta S. Maria, and immediately RIGHT to Via della Cavallerizza, where my hostel is located (by the Basilica San Frediano.) Drove about 50 meters and made a sharp LEFT to the hostel.
I drove to the front door of the Hostel San Frediano, parked summarily and went in to ask where the Parking was AND to do a "staccato bagagli" -- luggage drop off. Reception helped me straight away, showing me how to back up a bit to reach their Parking in the back of the building. My car was safe in that Parking for 5 days, and it was very easy to drive it out to visit Luccan Villas in the surroundings of Lucca proper, and to drive to the Garfagnana, a beautiful mountain area north of Lucca.
If you prepare your arrival to Lucca in advance, you should do very well and get as close as you can to your chosen accommodation.
NOTE: The Viale delle Mura is a great way to go all around the Old Town, on foot or by bike. Good views. Bike rentals at Porta Santa Maria, among other places. Lucca is very much a bike city. Be alert at all times, locals ride their bikes as their usual mode of transport and it's important not to obstruct passage.
What makes Lucca such a great daytrip destination from Florence is that there's a train leaving for Lucca from the Santa Maria Novella station in Florence every hour, and the ride only lasts 80 minutes (the same schedule applies for the return trip to Florence). To get to Lucca, look for trains heading to Viareggio. There's no need to book in advance, and in both Florence and Lucca you can buy your ticket (5.10 Euros for a one-way ticket) at the ticket office or from the ticket machines (look for the regional ones, cash only). Don't forget to validate your ticket before getting on board as controllers seem to be fairly frequent on regional trains, and make sure to pay sufficient attention as you get closer to Lucca since it's not the last stop on the line and it's easy to miss it since they don't always make announcements on board the trains. The train station in Lucca is located close to the old city: a 5-minute walk along Viale Regina Margherita will take you to the Porta San Pietro, through which you can access the old city and begin your day in the wonderful city of Lucca!
We took a daytrip to Lucca which is on the Florence-Viareggio train line, with frequent service to Florence. It takes around an hour to get from Lucca to Florence. We went in the morning, and walked from the train station observing the walls and walking in and out of churchs inside the walls. Then we had lunch and took the train back to Florence
We were traveling by train to Lucca and we found the best option to get there easily from Florence and it costs us only 5 euro!
The fact is that it takes about 45min (without delays) and the landscapes are very nice.
The railway station is just outside the city walls, close enough to walk.
We traveled from Pisa, where the nearest airport is, journey time around 30 minutes, tickets are not expensive.
See the Italian railways website for timetables.