Muslim Traveler's guide to Lucca, Italy

By Muzna Noohu | 16, Jan, 2018
Muslim Traveler's guide to Lucca, Italy

Lucca is a quaint city situated on the Serchio river of the Tuscany region in Central Italy. It stands at the foot of the Apuan Alps. The city is most commonly known for its circular Renaissance-era walls that still stand guard around the city. There are several ancient gates through which you can enter the city.

The walls that served as a military standpoint in the past, are currently a pedestrian promenade where locals and tourists alike go to enjoy the picture-perfect views of the city and its surrounding areas that are well-maintained with beautiful trees and green pastures.

The main draw of this walled city is the fact that it has been beautifully preserved over all these years; an opportunity to step back in time without the interference of modern technology, if you may.

 

Brief History of Lucca

The history of the city can be traced back to the Etruscan and Ancient Roman times. In fact, there are many parts of the city where the architecture of those days still remains. The Gothic era was also one of most prominence in its past, and this too can be witnessed through the historic attractions in Lucca today.

Construction of the famous walls began in 1545 and was completed around 1659. Lucca remained an independent state until 1805 when Napoleon Bonaparte conquered the city. Later, it became part of the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1860, and finally a member of the Italian State a year later.

 

Getting In & Around

Reaching Lucca is very easy, as there are plenty of options. If you are flying in, the nearest airport is in the city of Pisa. The Pisa Galileo Galilei International Airport has a rail station attached that will take you to Lucca in a 20-minute train ride. You can also take a car from Pisa or Florence, which will set you up for short rides. Since it is situated at the base of the hill, it's easily accessible for even those with mobility issues.

Getting around the city is also pretty easy. Since it is a small city, you can easily navigate many parts of your tour on foot. Tourists also prefer renting bicycles, which they use to ride through the city and explore its nature and ancient architecture at their own pace. There are also small buses that run around the old city, but please do note that these stop rotation at 8 p.m. In the night.

 

Attractions in the city

As an ancient city, there are plenty of attractions in Lucca that you can explore. Here are some of the most prominent places to add to the itinerary on your Halal tour to Lucca:

 

- Lucca Cathedral

This Roman Cathedral, constructed in 1603 by Bishop Anselm (who later became Pope Alexander II), was built in dedication to Saint Martin of Tours in Lucca, Italy. The unique facade of the cathedral, which is dominated by pillars and arches is a draw to many tourists. The interior is decorated with incredible works by renowned Italian artists like Matteo Civitali, Giovanni Battista Paggi, Alessandro Allori, and more.

Address: Piazza Antelminelli, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy.
Phone: +39 0583 490530

 

- Guinigi Tower

Picture Credit - www.kuriositas.com

The Guinigi Tower is one of the most prominent landmarks in Lucca of Romanesque architecture, and definitely a place you cannot miss on your Lucca travel guide. It's visible from most parts of the city, and the view from the top is incredible. The uniqueness of this building comes from the tall trees in the rooftop garden.

The ancient holm oak trees are said to symbolize rebirth and renewal, and legends say the Guinigi family planted them to represent the rebirth of Lucca under their rule. Others say the trees were planted as a simple attempt to make it the tallest standing tower in the city.



Address: Via Sant'Andrea, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy.
Phone: +39 0583 48090

 

- Piazza Dell Anfiteatro

Piazza Dell Anfiteatro or The Amphitheater Square is a public oval-shaped “square” in the northeast region of the walled city. It was originally a Roman amphitheater, but today is a marketplace that houses many local cafes and shops.


Address: Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy.
Phone: +39 0583 4422


 

- San Michele in Foro

Picture Credit - Tuscany.co

This incredible church was built over the ancient Roman Forum, and its exterior resembles a traditional wedding cake. This Roman Catholic basilica is dedicated to the Archangel Michael and was the seat of the major council until 1370.


Address: Piazza San Michele, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy.
Phone: +39 0583 583150


 

- The Wall

Of course, how could you leave the walled city without exploring it's the most famous attraction? The 16th-century wall serves a promenade today and stretches over 4 kilometres. The wall offers incredible views of the city, inside and outside.

Hidden in the wall are passageways that lead to places like children's playgrounds, a library, the Lucca Botanical Park, and more.

 

- Puccini's Birth Home

Picture Credit - www.puccinimuseum.org

The Puccini Museum is a great place to visit if you're a fan of the 19th-century Italian opera composer. As the name suggests, this is where he was born, and you can see many artefacts of his life such as an original piano, handwritten notes, and even personal letters.


Address: Corte S. Lorenzo, 9, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy.
Phone: +39 0583 584028
Website: http://www.puccinimuseum.org/en/


 

- Torre delle ore

Picture Credit - www.italyguides.it

This is an ancient clock tower located in Via Fillungo in central Lucca. This tower was built during the medieval times as a structure for protection, but was later acquired by the government and made into a clock tower. You can climb to the top and see the clock mechanisms.


Address: Via Fillungo, 20, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy.
Phone: +39 0583 48090


 

Locating Halal Food in Lucca, Italy

As Muslims, one of the most important things we look for no matter where we travel is the availability of Halal food. Although you might have some trouble finding Halal-certified restaurants, there are a few Muslim-friendly options for you to try. Since Lucca is easily explored during a day trip, this shouldn't cause you too much inconvenience. In fact, you could even take packed lunches to enjoy at the parks within the city. There are a few Halal-friendly restaurants outside the city limits as well, so you can purchase your food before entering the gates.

When it comes to finding Halal food in Lucca within the city limits, look for vegetarian, vegan, or seafood options. Most restaurants serving pasta/pizza will have vegetarian food as well. There have also been said to be a few kebab shops in Lucca, one is in Via Elisa which should be easy to find.

 

Here are a few Halal or Halal-friendly eateries in Lucca, Italy:

 

  • A Pollo Chicken Point
    A Halal restaurant in Lucca that serves delicious fried chicken, burgers, and other fast food.
    (Address: Viale Regina Margherita 167, Angolo Via Montanara, 55100, Lucca, Italy. Phone : +39 0583 955690)
  • La Griglia del Mare – The Sea Grid
    This is a seafood restaurant that serves dishes without the inclusion of any meat or alcohol.
    (Address: Viale Europa, 797, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy. Phone: +39 0583 316656)
  • Bedroom
    A vegetarian juice and smoothie bar that also offers delicious salads and sandwiches for takeaway.
    Address: Piazza San Maria, 25, Lucca, Italy, 55100. Phone: +39-3349982657)

Note: If you are eating vegetarian food in non-Halal restaurants, please make sure to inquire about the ingredients in each dish. This is because Italian cuisine commonly includes alcohol in it's cooking of things like pasta and sauces.

 

Prayer Facilities in Luccia

When it comes to finding prayer places in Lucca, there aren't too many options. There aren't any mosques in Lucca, and it is unlikely for you to find prayer places either. But since you are traveling, you have the luxury of shortening and combining your prayers, namely Duhr and Asr, as well as Maghrib and Isha.

There are only 8 official mosques in Italy, which is quite scarce. But there are many unofficial prayer places that are unlisted, so your best bet would be to find information from local Muslims. On your Halal trip to Lucca, you might be able to pray the earlier prayers before leaving your hotel or at prayer areas outside the city. The latter two prayers can be left for once you return back to your hotel room. Since Lucca can be explored in one day, this shouldn't cause you too much of an inconvenience.

For more ideas on where to travel in 2018 check out our travel blog or top travel destinations 2018 page

Muzna is a writer experienced in all things travel and food, influenced by her own travels, running a food blog and YouTube channel, as well as the various publications she has contributed to.