One of my favorite days abroad so far was spent on a bicycle in Lucca, Italy. Well, to be fair, the biking only took up an hour of the day but it was a pretty great hour at that.
Lucca is a tuscan city located about an hour west of Florence. The city is famous for its Renaissance time walls encircling the city. With a total length of about 2.5 miles, the walls were originally used as defense and have since been converted into a biking/walking path, green space and parks. Cars can’t drive into the walled area anymore unless you are a resident inside the walls, making for a peaceful and pedestrian friendly little city.
The amazing advisors of my program offer optional activities and day trips so I jumped on the opportunity to visit another Italian city, ride bikes, and eat gelato. We couldn’t have gotten a better day for it either. 70 degree weather made for a perfect day. Our advisors always seem to get the best tour guides for our trips so we started the day with a guided walking tour. Our guide led us through the quiet streets of Lucca, giving us a brief hisory lesson and stopping at few of the one hundred churches in the city. Seriously, there are literally one hundred churches in this little city.
Our tour led us to Guinigi Tower, one of the tallest towers in Lucca. Our guide explained that in Renaissance times wealthy families would build towers to show their wealth; the taller the tower, the more wealthy you were. One family in particular, reached the city height limit for their tower and came up with the idea to plant tress on top to make it appear even taller. Pretty clever if you asked me. We climbed the 230 steps to the top of this tower for a beautiful view of the city.
Our next stop was lunch in Piazza Anfiteatro, what used to be the city’s colosseum and has been redesigned as a city square.
The next hour was what I had been waiting for all day…riding bikes! Such a simple thing but it made me so happy. We finally got the green space and fresh air we had been craving in Florence. We biked around the entire city on the trail on top of the walls. I think I could do that everyday and be happy. It’s the little things in life, right?
Our day ended with a healthy serving of Italian gelato and a wonderful nap on the bus ride home. It was a good day 🙂
Check out the gallery for more photos of my day in Lucca.