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From Florence to Lucca: a low-cost one-day trip

piazza dell'anfiteatroAnother rather unexpensive excursion from Florence is to Lucca. This ancient town lies in the north-west of Tuscany, just an hour and 20 minutes by train from Florence (one-day train ticket, appr. 10 Euro, trains leaving every hour). As soon as you get out of the station you will see the imposing tree-lined walls, which entirely surround the historic centre of the town. After getting on the walls you will easily find on your left the back of the old romanic cathedral (free entrance). Inside do not miss to admire the beautiful statue of a sleeping beauty, Ilaria del Carretto, by Jacopo della Quercia (entrance: 2 Euro). Then you may wander along the narrow streets, such as via Filungo, probably the most elegant and exquisite street of the town. When you get to via Roma take it and in a few steps you will be in Piazza S. Michele in Foro, where you will find another evocative church to visit for free. If you are hungry, just behind the church in via Buia, you may taste at “Felice’s” some delicious take-away pizzas or the renowned “cecina“, a chickpea flour flatbread (3-4 Euro a piece). Go on with your trip bycattedrale di San Martino climbing up the medieval Guinigi tower with its unique trees on the top. The admission fee is 3.50 Euro and it is well worth it for the fabulous views. From the there you will realize that Piazza Anfiteatro still preserves the very oval shape of the ancient Roman arena, on whose ruins it was built, and you will feel like visiting it once you get down from the tower. Finally the “Basilica di San Frediano” is the last pearl of this excursion, famous for its magnificent gilded mosaic on the façade. The whole excursion will probably cost you no more than 15-16 Euro (museums and train tickets included) and I am sure you will not be disappointed.

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