Travel Log: Lucca & San Gimignano, Italy

If you would have told me last September that we would be going back to Italy for spring break I would have laughed in your face. We had no plans and no hope of going back that soon.

Let's be real, traveling it Italy is not cheap.

Flash forward to a rainy day in January. I'm cooking dinner and my husband is randomly looking up airline prices. Suddenly, Kyle turns to me and was like, "Woah! Look how cheap these tickets to Florence are!" Then, totally joking, I said, "hahaha what it if we went to Italy for spring break".

We looked at each other.

What if we did go to Italy for spring break? 

We loved our second trip to Italy just as much as the first. This post will include where we went our first two days: Lucca and San Gimignano. I am going to tell you what we did, the parts we loved, and tips for how you can do it too! 

Lucca

What We Did in Lucca:

Lucca's wall

This giant wall that surround the old part of town is 40 feet high and thick enough for a car to drive on! The walls are like a park with grass and even has a paved lane lined with trees. It is about a 3 mile loop and perfect for a stroll or leisurely bike ride!

Torre Guinigi

Is a tower in the middle of town with amazing views of the sweeping landscape. However atop the tower is something rather surprising, a cluster of oak trees! The tower was built in the 14th century and the trees were planted soon after that. Though the seven oaks on top are not the original trees, they are thought to be hundreds of years old. 

piazza anfiteatro

This "square" is an interesting highlight because is actually oval! It is hard to tell from photos unless it is an arial shot! We had a great time sipping wine and chatting (in italian) with our waiter and waitress! 

What We Loved About Lucca:

We visited a lot of really cool spots but what we loved most about Lucca is the overall atmosphere. The town as a whole is just lovely! Because of the wall, the traditional Italian charm is protected from the modern hustle and bustle and makes you feel like you've stepped into a whole other world. 

Recommendations for Lucca:

Parking tips

Like most towns in tuscany tourists aren't allowed to drive/park into the heart of the towns. We parked here. It has decent rates and is relatively close walking distance. 

Getting in

You will be parking outside of the giant wall I talked about! But don't worry you don't have to walk all the way to where the locals can drive inside the town. Just follow the walking path near the wall and it will lead you to the closest walking entry. Google maps doesn't recognize these walking paths so it will tell you to walk the long way around! 

San Gimignano

What We Did in San Gimignano 

Piazza della Cisterna

Is a really interesting space. It is a triangular piazza with a pretty well in the center. It is the place to be in San Gimignano and there are plenty of cute spots to sit down for a glass of wine or espresso! 

Gelateria Dondoli

It claims it is the best gelato in tuscany. I think it might be the best Gelato in the history of ever!!! We chatted, in Italian, with the owner as he picked fresh mint for his desserts. I got strawberry with rosemary, and mixed berries. The fresh ingredients were incredible! 

You might be tempted to go to the other gelateria in the square because the line to this place will be out the door. But DON'T DO IT! The wait is worth it. I promise. 

Torre Grossa

This tower offers great views of the town and Piazza della Cisterna but also incredible views of the surrounding tuscan countryside. Unfortunately, it was very hazy while we were there so the photos don't really capture how far you can see. But in person it is still incredible even if it is hazy. 

What We Loved about San Gimignano: 

I can not emphasize how much we loved the gelato. Everyday I wanted to drive back there just to have another scoop! We love the hill towns and the tuscany charm! We were content wandering down these cobble stone streets and exploring corners of the town that were off the beaten path. 

Recommendations : 

Hotel Bel Soggiorno

This is a great place to stop for lunch! It has a wonderful panoramic terrace from which you can enjoy the view of the beautiful Tuscan countryside. For five generations they have been serving traditional dishes inspired by the rich Tuscan history. 

Parking

This is another town where tourists aren't allowed to drive or park inside the actual city! We parked here and you only have to cross the street to walk into the town! 

Know someone going to Italy soon? Make their day and share this post with them!