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Lucca has a collection of artworks that have made it well-known throughout the world, and it is also called the 'city of the hundred churches', some of which are truly beautiful. Outside the city walls there is the Museo Nazionale di Villa Guinigi, where there are paintings by artists from Lucca together with valuable sculptures, items of the so-called minor arts, and sacred furnishings.
The very distinctive Piazza del Mercato, which is oval-shaped because it was built over an ancient Roman amphitheatre, is circled by an uninterrupted ring of houses. The only access to the piazza is by four pedestrian entrances.
Places of interest in the area around Lucca include the famous Ville Lucchese, which were built between the 16th and the 18th centuries on hilltops, mainly in proximity to the supplies of water that were needed for the spectacular fountains in their gardens. These villas share a particular concern for aesthetics, both in terms of the buildings themselves and the parks they overlook. Another shared feature is the mixed Tuscan and Doric order of architecture, and the use of plaster and stone together.

The renowned Tuscan cigar, the Toscano, is also from Lucca; hand-rolled since the 19th century, they are produced by the Manifattura Tabacchi. Thanks to a concession by the Italian state, they are now also produced in America and Argentina.
Lucca include a wide area that extends from the Apuan Alps to the Garfagnana and reaches as far as the coastal strip of Versilia.
The countryside around Lucca produces a high-quality (and world famous) olive oil that is highly aromatic and easy to digest.
Besides the well-known Tuscan gastronomic specialties, in Lucca it is also possible to sample Buccellato, a sweet ring-shaped cake made according to a 15th century recipe; its name derives from the fact that its shape is reminiscent of a buccina, a Roman trumpet with a round-coiled shape.

Picture by Sandro Santioli

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