I heard about Lucca since quite a long time ago. It is said as one of the very beautiful towns in Tuscany. A picture of the oval-shape Piazza Anfiteatro drew my attention and cultivated a desire to visit.  It is a medieval town, the only one in Italy which is totally surrounded by a wall, since 16-century.  Ascending to the wall, stroll and enjoy a fantastic view of the town from all angles.

The town is dotted with numerous Romaneque churches, palaces and shops.  It was a rich merchant town but the pace nowadays is never quick, holiday....  We enjoyed the town by walking around it, passing through lanes with medieval houses, walking on the wall.....

Well, a few highlights..... Duomo di San Maritno, superb architecture signatured with white and green exquisite marble. One of the outstanding pieces of art is the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto (wife of the ruling Guinigi), elegant and peaceful. It was sculpted by Jacopo della Quercia.

Piazza Anfiteatro is a landmark of Lucca.  We had a glance in the evening.  It's a residence but the ground floor of all buildings is transformed to restaurants.  Guess all residents have late nights, at least in summer.  Nevertheless, the piazza is charming. 

Not to be missed are Chiesa san Frediano and Chiesa san Michele.  San Frediano has a beautiful Byzantine/medieval style golden mosaic facade. The highlight inside the church is a 12th century Romanesque baptismal font.  It is composed of a bowl, covered with a tempietto, resting on pillars, inside a circular basin.

San Michele is stunning and admirable for its mighty facade.  It occupies a central location, full of life.  Century old nearby houses are watching the church and people passing by or sipping a coffee in a cafe at the square.  Inside the church are a Madonna with child by Andrea della Robbia and a panel by Filippino Lippi portraying Four Saints.  Lucca is the home town of the famous composer Puccini.  But not much publicity except a statue nearby the church, a museum and concerts

Our last highlight is climbing the Guinigi Tower, part of a palace and the roof is filled with trees.  From there you can a panoramic view of Lucca.  Beautiful! 

Our farewell to Lucca! My friend felt very bad at the end, heavily sick and weak. Then there came the strike of Italian train. It stopped at nowhere. Fortunately, we were picked up by a friend from Milan, 160km away. A big thank-you!