For anyone who loves being on a bike, or wants to see the city from a different perspective, or just wants to break up the museums-churches-walking routine, I definitely recommend adding this short and easy bike ride to your Lucca visit. And, you can say you’ve been cycling in Tuscany without having had to sweat your way up Tuscany’s many hills.
As you can see from the google maps screen shot below, the walls (and hence the path) completely circle the city, but you’re not balancing on a narrow wall, as many people first imagine. The path is very wide (wide enough that it was once used as a racetrack), and since it’s also completely flat and full of great picnic spots (here are some tips on picnicking in Italy), I often recommend it as a great activity for anyone traveling in Italy with kids. And when you’re done biking there is a lot more to see and do in Lucca.
Bike rental: Rent bikes at Cicli Bizzarri, inside the walls at the north end / top of the town. They are open daily, and there’s no need to reserve a bike in advance unless you are booking bikes for a large group. Rental rates are a few Euros an hour, and they’ll keep your ID while you take the bike out. They also rent helmets but they’ll tell you they’re not necessary. Riding one circuit on the walls will take you about 25 minutes at a relatively slow pace (it’s a park, with people walking, lots of bikes etc. so don’t expect to race around), but if you’d like to go for a longer ride, ask the people at Cicli Bizzarri – they have plenty of nearby route suggestions.
Cicli Bizzarri, Piazza Santa Maria, 32, 55100 Lucca, Italy +39 0583 496682
Cycling gear: Absolutely do not worry about cycling gear for this bike ride. You can rent a helmet but after being in Lucca five minutes you’ll see that practically nobody wears one. But Lucca is a big biking town, and you’ll see women on bikes wearing skirts, heels, and carrying designer bags. So really, wear whatever you want.
Nearby: It’s very easy to do a day trip to Lucca from Florence (it’s about an hour on the train), or include it on a Tuscany itinerary that might also include Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra, Monteriggioni, the magical roofless Abbey of San Galgano, Montepulciano and Pienza. It’s not even that far (though I wouldn’t recommend it as a day trip) from one of my favorite hotels in Italy, the Locanda Dell’Amorosa.
Photo of Lucca’s walls by Sanjay
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