Lucca is a city steeped in Italian history that draws thousands of visitors per year. From medieval walls and Roman amphitheatres, to more modern restaurants and wine bars, Lucca has a great range of attractions that make it a perfect base for any trip to Northern Italy.
Located within the Tuscany region, there are many day trips that can be made from Lucca. Italy is a relatively small country, so most cities and towns can be visited within a few hours. The Tuscany region alone is full of delights from wine and landscapes to modern cities and art galleries.
Here are the 15 best day trips within easy driving distance from Lucca.
Pisa is most well known for the famous Leaning Tower which draws thousands of tourists each year, but the town has so much more to offer daytrippers.
The city is full of architectural wonders waiting to be explored, with the rest of the Piazza Dei Miracoli area alone being a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Outside of this area, the city is bursting with even more historical architecture, particularly along the banks of the Arno River.
Pisa is also a great spot to experience some of Italy’s best sweet foods, with the chocolate and pastry in particular being intense delights for the taste buds.
Located right on the coast, Livorno is Tuscany’s gateway to the Mediterranean.
Still retaining the quaint architecture that the entire country is known for, Livorno also has a relaxed harbour area where you can explore boutiques, independent restaurants and mesmerizing views over the sea.
The Venice Neighbourhood is worth a visit to discover the largest network of canals in Italy outside of the Venice itself, within a much less touristy and busy atmosphere.
Livorno is best known for its seafood, in particular the black rice which is coloured with squid ink.
3. San Gimignano
Located in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, San Gimignano is a medieval city that has managed to retain its ancient walls and architecture.
This is an excellent day trip if you want to experience the old Italy of times gone by, whilst still indulging in the modern comforts of great food and wine.
Rural Tuscany is known for its friendly locals, and San Gimignano is no exception. You can find yourself discussing anything from Italian culture to a stranger’s relatives with the chatty locals that frequent the bars and restaurants in the town.
Siena is another beautiful medieval city in central Tuscany, and it has an impressive network of ancient streets and architecture that will easily take up an entire day trip.
The Piazza del Campo is the unique central piazza, known for being shaped like a shell. From here you can explore the finest boutiques, restaurants and wine bars in the city.
It also hosts the world famous biannual Il Palio horse race, so check the calendar before you decide when to go.
Siena is also a great place to learn how to make authentic Italian pasta, with many classes hosted across the town.
The Chianti region sprawls across much of the Tuscan countryside and is known as one of the most important wine producing regions in all of Italy.
Here you can visit one of the many vineyards and wineries to learn all about how the drink is made in Italy. Some of them also offer tastings and the opportunity to make your own wine, both in the modern fashion and the old-school way, using your own feet.
The region is also full of olive groves which can be visited to learn more about the cultivation of the plant and the production of the oil.
If you have your own car, it can be a beautiful area for exploring the Italian countryside.
Florence is a stunning city that requires little introduction to most tourists planning an itinerary of Italy.
Florence has so many options available for filling a day trip that you will wish you had more time. Michelangelo’s world-famous Statue of David is located in Florence, in one of the many museums that are scattered throughout the city.
Florence is truly an art lover’s paradise with a good range of classical and modern art galleries, as well as trendy independent art sellers throughout the city.
Aside from the art, Florence is also filled with culinary delights, with the gnocchi cooked in the city being an absolute must-try.
7. Cinque Terre
Another well-known visitor attraction in Italy, Cinque Terre is a string of five villages along the northwest Italian coastline.
These quirky villages are carved into cliffsides, giving them a unique, dramatic appearance that is complemented by the laidback lifestyle experienced by most of the locals.
Through exploring the villages, you will be able to discover tales of Italian tradition and check out some local handicrafts.
Like pretty much everywhere else in the country, food is an integral part of the Cinque Terre experience and you cannot miss the opportunity to dine in one of the small local restaurants in any of the villages.
Located just outside Chianti, Montepulciano is another famous winemaking region where you can sample some of the serious competition facing the larger winemaking regions.
Montepulciano township itself is also steeped in Italian history, particularly religious and medieval history. You can visit the Piazza Grande to check out most of the sites, including the church and clock tower.
Many of the wine tastings take place in wine cellars across the town rather than in the wineries themselves, which are usually a short drive away.
If you are visiting without a car and rely on public transport, this is one of your best opportunities for rural wine tasting.
9. La Spezia
La Spezia is a sprawling town on the Mediterranean coast, which has many great viewpoints over the sea, the surrounding mountains and the bright orange rooftops of the town.
Often forgotten by tourists, La Spezia has a very calm and easygoing nature and many locals will be more than happy to share their own slice of Italian culture with you.
Exotic plants line the main beach area, which is also a quiet and a peaceful sunbathing spot if you want to avoid the crowds of Italy’s more famous beaches.
The castle in the centre of the town is well worth a visit, and is one of the oldest military structures in the region of Tuscany.
Genoa is a beautiful city on Italy’s northern coast that is steeped in history and the finer aspects of Italian culture.
Visitors to Italy usually miss out on Genoa, instead heading to the more famous cities, but it is well worth making a day trip out of it. It neighbours major Italian Riviera hotspots and the journey on the way there alone will treat you to beautiful vistas over the Mediterranean Sea.
The city itself is packed with museums including art galleries, ethnographic museums and natural history museums. It has Europe’s largest historical centre, with plenty of winding streets displaying architecture from across many eras in European history.
11. San Marino
San Marino is the third smallest independent country in the world and, like the Vatican, is located entirely within Italy.
There are three towers across the city that dominate the skyline, and the entire city gives a great insight into medieval architecture and walkways.
The towers give great views across the entirety of the country and out towards the Italian countryside, and the minuscule size of the country makes it completely walkable.
This is a unique corner of Europe that should not be missed, and you can even get your passport stamped with an official San Marino entry stamp if you wish.
Known within Italy as the capital of food, Bologna is another city that is overlooked by many tourists.
The city has a bustling atmosphere that still retains most of the original culture, and it is home to a huge restaurant scene.
The most famous dish is, of course, Bolognese, however this is actually one of the simplest and blandest dishes they offer. There is a rich array of flavours available across the abundance of restaurants that have established themselves in Bologna.
This is all within a setting of beautifully maintained medieval architecture and unique local grit.
13. Lake Trasimeno
Located entirely within Umbria, Italy’s region least-visited by foreign visitors, Lake Trasimeno is an area of outstanding natural beauty and a popular holiday spot for Italians themselves.
Cute towns line the coast of the lake, giving a surprising variety in terms of cultural experience and showcasing the many sides of Italy. There are also a number of castles and ruins to explore if you really want to delve into the history.
The lake itself has a number of activities available such as fishing and kayaking, and is a great family destination in Italy to get away from the vibrancy of the cities.
Piombino is an important, though often ignored, city in Italy as the main hub for imports from across the Mediterranean region.
Despite this somewhat industrial present, the town manages to hold on to its ancient past and like many parts of Tuscany has some stunning untouched medieval architecture as well as preserved buildings.
There are amazing views from the coast across other parts of the Etruscan Coast, and the harbour area is full of life with local markets, fishermen and boat cruises.
Also located within Umbria, Perugia is a quirky city located right in the heart of Italy. It is most well-known locally as a university town, meaning Perugia has a very youthful atmosphere and great bar and restaurant scene.
One of the major attractions is the ability to visit the underground areas of the city, which were constructed during medieval times.
This is an entire underground city that was abandoned and used as foundations for the Rocca Paolina fortress.