There is a very pleasant way to visit Lucca, one of the most beautiful and fascinating historical cities in Tuscany: by cycling on its 16th century Walls, considered the spectacular shell of its historical center.
Tall, powerful, perfectly preserved, interspersed with doors and majestic bulwarks, they offer a walk of four kilometers marked by access ramps, shaded by plants of the most varied essences, garnished with green pitches from where the gaze sweeps between the center, the countryside and the Apuan Alps.
Built in the 16th century on previous Roman Walls, these, 12 meters high and 30 meters wide, formed a formidable defensive system which the city has never had to use (fortunately), becoming over the centuries a meeting point.
Today, they are one of locals and tourists’ most favorite gathering spots. On the walls, there are people who jog, who walk the dog, who enjoy the autumn sun, who play cards with friends, and who have picnics.
CYCLING UNDER LIME TREES, NETTLE TREES, CHESTNUTS AND MUCH MORE
But the best way to discover the Walls is the bicycle, the vehicle preferred by natives.
With the two wheels you can, for example, go up from the ancient Porta Santa Maria (served bycicle parking and rental) and pedal under an avenue of lime trees, spying on the multitude of roofs; and then via del Fosso, where women once used to do laundry; the beautiful church of San Frediano and the National Museum of Villa Guinigi.
Continuing on an avenue of nettle trees (each stretch of walls is bordered by different trees), you get to the Baluardo della Libertà, one of the most panoramic towers, where the eye captures the Guinigi Tower with its plume of holm oaks, and that of the Ore Tower; the towers of Porta San Gervasio; the bell tower of San Michele and the white spires of the Cathedral of San Martino.
FROM BULWARK TO BULWARK
Continuing with our cycling,we come close to the Botanical Garden, where a 1822 cedar tree from Lebanon stands tall. While proceeding under the chestnusts shades, between the Bulwarks of San Regolo and San Colombano, you can take a break for a coffee or a red chiodino, a typical Lucca cocktail, at the Café San Colombano.
Continuing to the Baluardo San Donato, where the Casermetta with the Museum of the Ancient Mint are located, you can observe preserved coins, medals, and coinage machines used in the 12th century, when Lucca was a city-state.
Just a few more pedal strokes and here is the Baluardo Santa Croce and the San Frediano Platform, with a magnificent glance on the Italian garden of Palazzo Pfanner, prelude to the Piazzetta Santa Maria which concludes our two-wheeled tour.