Area around Lucca, Italy

Tuscany is divided into smaller regions called "province". The province of Lucca is in the north of Tuscany and has a wide variety of landscapes, from the high mountains of the Alpi Apuane and of the Apennines to the famous and glitzy beaches of Versilia. Its capital city, Lucca, is a fabulous place to visit, full of history, excellent restaurants and places to explore. The landscapes and smaller towns that surround it are also well worth visiting, with good wines, famous and historic villas, and amazing mountain walks.

Map of the area around Lucca

Map of Lucca Province

Piana di Lucca - historic Villas

The city of Lucca is built in the wide valley of the river Arno, the main river of Tuscany that flows from the mountains behind Florence down past Empoli, Montecatini then past Lucca to Pisa where it meets the Mediterranean. The abundance of flat land and the importance of Lucca have lead to many important families building their Villas around the city.

Today the most important of them have been turned into museums, but some are also available for private rent. They make for very grand and impressive holiday residences and are a great way to dip into Tuscan history.

Visit the Stately Villas of Lucca

Or stay in this beautiful Villa Ponte close to Lucca:

Historic Villa near Lucca
Villa Ponte is an exclusive and historic villa for rent near Lucca, Italy


The boot of Italy has a spine, a ridge of mountains that runs from top to bottom dividing west coast from east, called the Apennines. Northern Tuscany also has its very own Alps, the Apuan Alps that are made entirely of white marble and have been a prized source for sculptors for centuries.

The deep valleys between the mountain ranges of the Apuans and the Apennines are a zone called the "Garfagnana", a fiercely independent territory that held back Roman armies for a long time. Today they are a treasure trove of mountain villages with excellent restaurants, castles, fabulous walks and, for the more adventurous, some excellent mountain climbing.

Il Ponte del Diavolo (The Devil's Bridge) in Garfagnana

Massaciuccoli and Opera

Closer to the coast the large lake of Massaciuccoli was the favourite spot of composer Puccini - today it hosts a yearly Opera festival in a beautiful lakeshore theatre.

Lake Massaciuccoli where the yearly Opera festival dedicated to Puccini is held.

Opera Festival Puccini

Pietrasanta and the sculptors

The Apuan mountains have been quarried for centuries for their beautiful and world-famous white Carrara marble. This is where Michelangelo came for his marble to make his "David", as did Donatello, Canova and countless more. Today you can find contemporary sculptors and galleries in Pietrasanta, while by going further north you can visit the quarries themselves.

Sculptor's studio in Pietrasanta

Just inland from Pietrasanta is one of my favourite little towns, Camaiore, large enough to be interesting to explore, small enough to feel entirely intimate, and surrounded by beautiful hills.

Versilia, Viareggio and the Tuscan Riviera

Long sandy beaches, nightclubs, expensive villas and expensive lifestyles, this is where the rich and stylish come to play in summer. Come in February and you'll see something completely different: Viareggio transforms itself for Carneval and large colourful carts with parodies of political and cultural figures are pulled around the cities streets.