This small Italian city packs in a host of historical and cultural attractions
The delightful city of Lucca in Tuscany, north-western Italy, is a feast for the eyes. Within its impressive city walls Lucca's narrow cobbled streets and handsome tree-lined avenues lead to a succession of historic buildings dating from all periods since the city's origins as a Roman colony around 180BC.
Lucca's compact area means that it is a joy to explore on foot and atop the high and almost-perfectly preserved seventeenth-century perimeter walls a footpath forms a four-kilometre circuit which provides views of the city's many highlights.
At Lucca's heart, the unique oval Piazza del Mercato was the site of a Roman amphitheatre built in the first century. Once a magnificent structure of fifty-four arches and with a ten-thousand-spectator capacity, Lucca's amphitheatre was destroyed in the Gothic Wars, but its ancient boundary now forms the edge of the city's marketplace.
One of Lucca's most famous sons was Giacomo Puccini, composer of operas such as La Bohème, Tosca and Madame Butterfly.The house in which Puccini was born in 1858 now houses a museum dedicated to his life and works, with exhibits including his piano, clothing, paintings and personal letters and sketches.
It is cultural, historical and architectural treasures such as these, combined with the city's innate charm, that ensure Lucca remains one of Tuscany's most popular and memorable destinations.