Lucca sits by the Serchio River in northern Tuscany, surrounded by preserved 16th century walls. The town makes a perfect starting point for excursions into the nearby Apuan Alps, with their marble quarries, and Garfagnana, a mountainous province in the Apennine Mountains, ideal for cycling and hiking tours.
Lucca was the birthplace of Puccini and you can visit his house, which has now been converted into a museum in the Piazza della Cittadella.
Lucca is perhaps best known for its divine Tuscan cuisine and is home to one of Italy's oldest dishes, farro soup (a type of minestrone). You can get first-hand experience of traditional Italian cooking in Lucca by taking a cookery course.
One of our favourite culinary adventures is offered by Simone at The Forci Estate in the hills above Lucca. Lessons here include wine tasting, sampling the locally produced olive oil and tuition in the arts of Italy's legendary cuisine.