Where to go? What to see? What to eat? I’ll start off with fun places to walk and some nice things for your owners to see…
I have to confess, Italy is one of my favorite places to visit. The people are wonderful, they call me Beagalino and there are happy dogs everywhere. Of all of the wonderful cities in Tuscany, Lucca is the most cozy, it’s a tiny little town encased within walls. Perfect walls to take your dog on a walk and view the city from above. The walls are quiet famous and I would consider them garden walls, due to they are lush and very beautiful, full of lawns to run on and trees to… ( I will not say it!)
Inside the walls you’ll find well preserved Romanesque churches, medieval towers and buildings. The wonderful streets are navigated by foot or bicycles, and cars are kept at a minimum, which as a dog, I always prefer.
Lucca is less than an hour from Florence, and about 20 minutes from Pisa via car. When arriving in Lucca, you will usually enter via St. Peter’s gate, your hotel or rental accommodations will navigate you in to unload your car and then send you to park it while staying in Lucca.
The railway station is just south of the walls on Piazza Ricasoli, there are lots of trains travelling on the Viareggio-Pisa-Florence line.
For jet set dogs…The nearest airport is Pisa international airport Galileo Galilei (18 Miles from Lucca)
Great Dog Walks in Lucca
The Wall…Lucca began to construct the walls in 1500 and the architects gave them a little more elegance than was strictly necessary. Lucca’s walls are just for decoration: under Duchess Marie-Louise they were planted with a double row of plane trees to create a 4km elevated garden boulevard, offering the best views over Lucca. The walls also offer places to sit and have a picnic, restaurants and cafes to enjoy a drink or a bite to eat. Considering its car free, your dog can join the locals and run around lease free. Basically if you’re staying a few days in Lucca, this is the walk for you!
City Tour…A nice city stroll will let your owners get up close to some of the amazing buildings and plaza’s. Things not to miss
- Lucca cathedral – The cathedral was started in the 11th century and completed in the 15th century. Around the cathedral an antiques market takes place in and around the cathedral’s Piazza San Martino the third Saturday and Sunday of each month.
- Guinigi Tower – 44 metres high – it was built by the Guinigi family in the 14th century as a defense. It is worth the stiff climb up for the view over the city and the Apuan Alps. The streets in this quarter have scarely changed in the past 500 years. Along Via Sant’Andrea and narrow Via Guinigi, you’ll also see a number of resolutely medieval palaces.
- Piazza dell’Anfiteatro – Via Fillungo, narrow arches lead into something most visitors miss: The Roman amphitheatre. Only the outlines of its arches are still traceable in the outer walls, while within the inner ring only the form remains. However it is amazing to view, due to it has been perfectly preserved. The old grandstands have been filled with medieval houses. This is a perfect place to sit right in the former arena and relax at one of the cafes and mingle in and out of the shops.
- Piazza Napoleone – In 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte made his sister Elisa Baciocchi princess of Lucca. It is also the focus of Lucca’s evening passeggiata. A must for any dog who wants to see the action!
Eating out in Lucca
You bet, we are welcome to dine with our owners and some places will even offer you a bowl of water and sneak you a little snack! I was welcomed in the bars, cafes and restaurants all over Lucca, inside and outside seemed to be just fine with the local owners.
My favorite place was Da Leo, on Via Tegrini… cheap and cheerful, busy with both locals and tourists. Simple eats and local drinks make it a relaxing place to hang out.
Where to stay…
We stayed at the Hotel Busdraghi; A Palazzo Busdraghi, Via Fillungo, 170, Tel. +39 0538.950856
website: Hotel Busdraghi
The hotel is a cute boutique 4 star hotel located on a busy little street filled with shops and near the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. Just steps away from the wall for dog walks too! The staff was very friendly and I quiet enjoyed the breakfast in the morning. The only downside of the hotel is that you need to walk up a flight of stairs to reach it and if you have a lot of bags, including dog gear, it might be a little daunting. However besides that the location was great, our room was nice and the location was excellent.
The upside of Lucca is that you do have a lot of choices for hotels that accept dogs, in all price ranges and styles. If you are looking for a little 5-star luxury, try Hotel Noblesse. This luxury hotel is located in the heart of Lucca, walking distance from Guinigi Tower, St Martin’s Cathedral, and Piazza Anfiteatro. Also nearby are Church of San Michele in Foro and Basilica di San Frediano.
However a google search will give you a good selection of hotels.
If you are thinking of a holiday rental:
- Always on Vacation has a good selection of dog friendly places
- Belvilla has a good selection of villas across Tuscany