Trains at Lucca station
Lucca has it's own train station and does run to many major cities including Pisa and Florence. I get the impression that the locals prefer buses to trains as they are quicker but if you're anything like me and don't do well with long journeys by bus, I'd recommend the trains. They're really comfortable, nice air conditioning and are very spacious (unless you're travelling from a major city in rush hour!)
During my stay I travelled to Florence direct from Lucca, it cost very little... something like 5 or 6 euro which to me seems incredibly cheap for a relatively long journey. You see a lot of little italian villages along the ways and nice views of the mountains too. Some parts are a bit more unsightly but interesting to look at all the same. As well as Florence (a longer journey of around an hour and a half), there are trains to Viareggio and Pisa. Apparently it takes around half an hour to get to Pisa (though the train was cancelled on my way to Pisa- almost missed my flight as a result so always have a backup plan... I ended up having to pay about 60 euro for a taxi to the airport! Viareggio takes 20 minutes.
The train ticket to Pisa from Lucca costs 2.40 euro single (as of 13/09/2008)
I had never been on italian trains before my journey to Florence from Lucca.. they don't serve food (just incase you're backpacking and are hoping to get a snack along the way). Random point I know, but I wasn't sure when I was boarding the train.
I personally found the train station hard to navigate, this was probably down to my lack of italian speaking capabilities (oops!) but also an unusual layout... bear in mind that there are subways to other platforms, not just the two obvious platforms which you see as you exit the station. I ended up missing a train to florence and had to wait about 2 hours until the next one... try your best to find a helpful person to point you in the right direction if you're stuck. I think it's platform 3 and 4 that are linked via subways.
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Trains to Lucca from Pisa Airport
There is a rail link from the airport to Pisa Centrale with a frequent service - times are here.
Trains from Pisa Centrale to Lucca take around 25 minutes. You can find the timetable by visiting
http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html and filling in the form.
Take the Lazzi Bus
We took the Lazzi bus from Pisa to Lucca, and then again from Lucca to Florence. The bus runs at regular intervals and is fairly inexpensive. It's not a long ride to either location and you get to see plenty of countryside as well as small towns along the way.
The fare to Lucca was 2,80 Euro and the fare to Florence was 5,00 Euro.
Your baggage is stowed in the luggage compartment and slides around a bit. Be careful when getting it out, a sore back can be a pain. Trust me, I know!
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Lucca is a nightmare town with a car.
YOU MUST PARK OUTSIDE THE WALLS in the public parking areas.
The police are very strict.
The one-way streets are confusing.
There is literally no place to park unless you live there.
The tourist buses create havoc, AND walking is so much more fun.
We enjoyed the walk to and from our car (which was infrequent). It gave us an opportunity to see the walls of the ancient city from the outside again and again. It was also fun to use a different entrance each time we entered.
Note: The photograph is not mine. It was taken from a pamphlet that I had
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Lucca is an excellent destination for a day trip, either from Firenze/Florence or Pisa. The best way to get to the city is by train.
The railway station is in the south of the city. You just cross Piazza Ricasoli and the Walls, and you are in the Old Lucca.
The Railway Station in Florence is called Santa Maria Novella, and it's at Piazza della Stazione, very close to the most important sights of the city.
Train Station to City
When you come from the Train station there are a couple of exits. You want to find the main exit/entrance. When you come from that exit you should see the city walls in front of you. You should walk to the right to get to the walls and then follow them until there is a gate into the main city. There are a lot of hotels and everything is within walking distance.
There are a surprising number of car parks in and around Lucca to allow easy access to the city. My advice would be to park in one of the lots OUTSIDE the city walls as there are a couple and they're large and almost guaranteed to have spaces available.
This is not always the case with the lots inside the city. Aside from being relatively small they could prove a challenge both in locating and navigating your way through the city to get to them. On more than one occasion I have witnessed a harried tourist with the "where the hell am I?" look worn like a mask as he or she tries to navigate the VERY narrow streets of this fun city. But if you're adventurous, go for it! There are several electronic parking monitors placed around the city that let you know how many spaces are left for a particular lot which can be of benefit especially on weekends and holidays.
If using the website, follow the link for 'Parcheggi' or just click on a 'P' sign on the Lucca map. And FYI, during the week you pay by the hour. Saturday and Sunday it's one Euro flat for the day.
Old city centre
Park Mazzini: 290 parking spaces
Park Lorenzini: 117 parking spaces (bicycle hire)
Park Cittadella: 106 parking spaces
Via dei Bacchettoni: 228 parking spaces
Corso Garibaldi: 58 parking spaces
Via del Pallone: 67 parking spaces
Piazza Santa Maria degli Orti: 62 parking spaces
Piazza San Ponziano: 28 parking spaces
Via Elisa: 17 parking spaces
Piazza San Francesco: 33 parking spaces
Sortita baluardo Cairoli: 28 parking spaces
Outside the walls
Park Carducci: 600 parking spaces (free tickets for 4 persons on CLAP n. 19 shuttle valid for the day of issue of car park ticket. Bicycle hire)
Park Palatucci: 753 parking spaces (bicycle hire)
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Lucca CLAP Bus
Unlike the Lucca Metro (see other travel tip) CLAP services the rest of the city as well as the Province of Lucca. There's no english version of the site but a simple online translator will get you what you need to know.
There is also a website I built more for me, but thought it could benefit others at www.travelrabbit.net which covers all aspects of travel (buses, ferries, taxis, rail lines, etc) for not only Lucca, but dozens of other Italian cities. If your traveling throughout Italy you may find it of use.
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I don't feel you really need a bus inside Lucca to get around, but sometimes the day gets long and for people with handicaps it might be necessary especially if rough, cobblestoned streets are an issue. This bus service is primarily for inside the walls of Lucca and appears to be fairly regular.
There is also a website I built (more for me) but thought it could benefit others at www.travelrabbit.net which covers all aspects of travel for not only Lucca, but dozens of other Italian cities. If your traveling throughout Italy you may find it of use.
- Family Travel
Buses in Lucca 2
Tip originally written in November 2004.
The suburban buses are blue single-deckers. There are nine routes, but different directions on each route are numbered differently, so there are 18 bus numbers, running from 51 to 68. The routes cover a wide area, from Balbano and Carrognano Buchignani in the west to Capannori and Lammari in the east. We were staying just outside the city walls, so didn’t use the suburban buses at all, so I can’t comment on frequency of fares. Check the website for more information on the regional and suburban buses (in Italian, but the map, routes and timetables are all there).
Update March 2008.
I have had several enquiries for more information about the buses recently, so have re-visited the websites to check on the information I gave before. I can't find a clear map of the services, although there is a small, blurry one buried on the CLAP website. The timetables can be found though. Look up in the index http://tinyurl.com/2wmsjg for where you want to go, and the timetable number, and then look in the whole timetable at http://tinyurl.com/ynk227 to find the times. The services vary during school holidays, so you need to check the dates on page 4 of the index.
Keep a map handy
The town is big enough that you may need a map if travelling around the city. It has winding streets and is rather easy to get lost in some areas. Reading street signs is a luxury, so you rgeneral sense of direction helps.
- Arts and Culture
Train or bus from Pisa
There are 2 ways to get from Pisa airport to Lucca, train or bus. They are both cheap and we found them both efficient. We took the bus to Lucca and used the train going back to the airport.
Buy tickets for either inside the airport.
The bus busstop is not obvious but easy to find if you know where to look. From the airport door you will see a small car park in front of you. Cross over the carpark and you will find the bus-stop on the road on the other side of it. The bus is blue with a yellow stripe. The one we got stopped at the airport for about five minutes before setting off again. The trip takes about 40 mins and you get dropped off in Lucca just inside the city wall.
The train station is to the left of the main door. Catch the little shuttle (every 15 mins) from the airport into Pisa centrale. Then switch to whichever platform the next Lucca train is coming in on - there is one every half hour. Lucca station is just outside the city wall.
I thought both the bus and the train were good
If your hotel is any distance from the bus terminal at Piazzale Verdi, you probably should take the train because it is not easy to find a taxi inside Lucca itself. There were always taxis outside the train station when we passed through.
It's not the ideal way of transport in the narrow lane of Lucca, but if you want to have a quick tour on the Walls there is nothing better. You can find bikes rental in many corners... Piazza Santa Maria and Corso Garibaldi (near Piazza Grande) are just two of them.
On the contrary, for people who lives or work in Lucca bicycle is the favorite way of trasport inside the Walls, so you can see a huge number of people riding bikes during the morning.
Parking can be a problem in Lucca, not because there aren't but because almost all of them are not free. So if you want to stay for a whole day or more, parking the car can be very expensive.
Try to find free parking in the area going from the train station to Porta Elisa (try on the Walls's side or even in some streets going in radial direction from the Walls... better a walk than a fine, isn't it?). Be careful not to park in no-park zone... city policemen are really inflexible here!!!
The bus station in Lucca is in Piazzale Verdi, just inside the Walls from Porta S.Anna. There are two main bus companies: CLAP (just on the right as you enter the gate) and Lazzi (once you enter the gate go straight till the end of the "piazzale" and then turn on the left).
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