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Lucca, Pistoia & Garfagnana

Getting there

By plane

Florence International Airport (FLR), served by the major national carriers, is about 40 minutes from Lucca and 20 minutes from Pistoia.

Alternatively, Pisa International Airport (PSA) is served by the major low-cost airlines, including Ryanair, linked with Italian and European locations. It is 50 minutes by car from Pistoia and 25 minutes from Lucca.

By train

There are several trains that leave and arrive in the city every day: Lucca is located on the Florence-Viareggio and Florence-Pistoia-Pisa rail lines. The same rail line passes through Montecatini Terme, reachable in less than 30 minutes, and Pistoia in about 45 minutes. Trains to the Garfagnana depart daily from Lucca.

By car

Whether you come from the north or south, you must take the A11 Firenze-Mare and exit at Lucca. If you come from the coast, it is best to take from Viareggio the motorway branch linking the A12 Genoa-Rome directly to Lucca.

Getting around

On foot or by bike

The old town centres of both Pistoia and Lucca need to be explored on foot or on a bike to enjoy the narrow streets closed of motor vehicle traffic.

By bus

The city transport service is managed by Ctt in Lucca and Blubus in Pistoia.

By car

To move easily between one city and another, it is best to rent a car and park it out of the old town centres, which are usually reserved for pedestrian.

By taxi

Radio Taxi Lucca; Taxi amico Pistoia.

When to go

Spring

Let yourself be guided by the scent of flowers and the explosion of colours, the bird songs and the awakening nature while relaxing at the spas and being pampered by the food and wine gems of this land.

Summer

This is the most lively season if you are interested in participating in the unforgettable musical events that characterize the Tuscan summer.

Autumn

Not all places are beautiful in the autumn, but these towns definitely are! Warm colours, tree-lined avenues and clear air will permeate your journey.

Winter

The snowy Garfagnana is a spectacle. If you don’t like being hampered by mass tourism, then this is the right time to explore this area!

 

What to bring

It’s almost impossible to visit Lucca during Lucca Comics and not stock up on comics and gadgets, so in this case leave space in your suitcases! Bring comfortable shoes that are suitable for walking or pedalling. The winter climate is quite harsh, so we recommend heavy clothing suitable for fending off the cold, wind and rain. Conversely, in summer you may find particularly high temperatures: bring cool clothes, without forgetting a jacket for the evening’s temperature drop.

Budget

Accommodation

The average cost for a night in a 3 star hotel in Lucca is €100, while in Pistoia it is €70. If you choose to stay in a B&B, in both cities the price is around €50.

Cuisine

Dinner in a traditional trattoria in the old town centre of Lucca or Pistoia costs between €25 and €30 per person.

Getting around

The Lucca-Pistoia regional train ticket costs €5.60 one way. The Lucca-Montecatini route is €4.50 one way, while from Pistoia the price is €2.60.

Local Cuisine

Rovelline lucchesi: a simple yet delicious second course made with sliced beef, breaded and fried, then cooked again in a sauce with capers. It is excellent with mashed potatoes.

Il carcerato: the typical dish of Pistoia, a steamed bread soup and calf offal with cheese and butter to taste. In the past, it was a dish cooked for inmates of the prison, which is right next to the city’s slaughterhouses, hence the curious name.

Cialde di Montecatini: a sought-after dessert, consisting of a round waffle with a double layer of crisp wafer and a filling of chopped almonds and sugar. Pairs perfectly with ice cream.

Brigidini di Lamporecchio: There is no self-respecting food stand in Tuscany that does not prepare on the spot these sweet biscuits made with fragrant leaves of anise, distinguishingly yellow.

Fun facts

Be afraid, gentlemen! According to common popular tales, witches and sorcerers populate the Garfagnana. And they are not alone, accompanied by two goblins typical of this area: the Linchetto, a spirit who is not evil, but rather mischievous, and Buffardello, a curious devil.

Until the 1980s, the people of this mystical land talked about the “segnatori”, healers by tradition. In order to cure patients, they used the technique of “signing”, which consists of marking with the hand or with an object on the part of the body affected by the problem with Christian and pagan formulas.

Even though he had travelled all over the world and lived for long periods in the most extraordinary places on the planet, the great journalist Tiziano Terzani had only one place in his heart, Orsigna, a hamlet of Pistoia immersed in the woods, a land of shepherds and woodsmen.

the 10 reasons to visit Lucca, Pistoia & Garfagnana

Montecatini Terme
1

Visit Montecatini, with its medieval Borgo Alto and its hot springs

parco di pinocchio a collodi
2

Become a child again at the Pinocchio Park in Collodi

tour nella pistoia sotterranea
3

Discover subterranean Pistoia

Credits to Wikimedia
grotta del vento
4

Visit the Grotta del Vento along one of its 3 itineraries

Credits to Wikimedia
casa adottiva di giovanni pascoli
5

Take a trip to Barga to see the adoptive home of poet Giovanni Pascoli

Credits to Wikimedia
paese fantasma lago di vagli
6

Discover the ghost town submerged by Vagli Lake and cross the new suspended bridge

Credits to Wikimedia
mura cinquecentesche di lucca
7

Walk along Lucca's 4 km of sixteenth-century walls

vivai storici di pistoia
8

Take a tour of the beautiful traditional nurseries of Pistoia

9

Be enchanted by the legends about the construction of the Maddalena's Bridge or Devil's Bridge

casa natale di leonardo da vinci
10

Visit the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci in Anchiano

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