Week in Lucca
Tradition and innovation. Florence, Pisa, and Lucca are symbolic places in Tuscany, widely visited and known worldwide. Pietrasanta, Collodi, Lake Massaciuccoli, and many other small oases of peace and tranquility, rich in history, traditions, and culture, are still off the beaten tourist paths but no less interesting. Two diametrically opposed lifestyles set against a changing nature. Within a few kilometers, you go from the beaches of Versilia to the rugged mountain range of the Apuan Alps, and from the marshy area of Lake Massaciuccoli to the Serchio River Park, and finally from the gentle hills of Pizzorne covered with vineyards and olive groves to the beech and chestnut woods of the Apennines.
Day 1: Arrival in Lucca
The hometown of Giacomo Puccini, known worldwide for its monumental walls and the Guinigi Tower. But it’s wandering through the city that you’ll get to know it, savoring the suggestive corners steeped in history, tradition, and passion. Walking through the vicolo dell’Altopascio, you’ll feel like you’re back in the Middle Ages, and it’s not the only one. Many other corners will tell you the story of this city, and you’ll be surprised by the number of “gardens,” churches, and palaces.
Day 2: Pisa – 42 km – 4 hours – Elevation gain 10 m
The first excursion takes us to Pisa. Along the cycle path marked by the Serchio River, once the scene of fierce battles, you can freely admire the countryside and villages that provide a splendid backdrop. Arriving in San Giuliano Terme, we cycle along a stretch of country road with little traffic for about 1.5 km to reach another cycle path along the Medici aqueduct that takes us directly under the Leaning Tower. We’ll end the excursion in the San Rossore-Migliarino Park. From the homonymous railway station, we take the train back to Lucca.
Day 3: The Villas – 53 km – 5 hours – Elevation gain 220 m
This excursion also starts on the cycle path along the Serchio River, but this time in the opposite direction. We reach Ponte a Moriano and take the road of the Villas, a country road with gentle and fun ups and downs, surrounded by vineyards and olive trees. Here we encounter beautiful villas such as Villa Oliva, Grabau, Reale, Mansi, and Torrigiani. Then we arrive in the town of Collodi, famous for bringing the puppet Pinocchio to life, with the splendid Villa Garzoni. Crossing the valley, we reach the medieval fortress of Montecarlo, a charming village at 160 meters above sea level surrounded by vineyards.
Day 4: Il Compitese – 40 km – 4 hours – Elevation gain 200 m
The day begins by cycling along the Nottolini Roman-style aqueduct to reach the foothills of the Monti Pisani. Hills covered with olive groves, pine forests, chestnuts, woods, ancient bridges, and watercourses, centuries-old terraces scattered with old palaces, stone houses, and villas, embellished with splendid examples of ancient camellias. Once we reach the “Compitese Valley,” south of Capannori, a few kilometers from Lucca, commonly recognized as the “Camellia Village,” an elegant and refined flower of exotic origins that has found its ideal habitat here.
Day 5: Florence.
Excursion to Florence by train, proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The birthplace of the Renaissance, universally recognized as one of the cradles of art and architecture. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, thanks to its numerous Renaissance monuments and museums – including the Cathedral, Santa Croce, the Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, and Palazzo Pitti.
Day 6: The Versilian Coast – 46 km – 4.5 hours – Elevation gain 200 m
After a hectic day in Florence, we are ready for a nice bike ride and some relaxation by the sea. Crossing the hills of Pieve Santo Stefano, we reach Monte Magno. After a fun descent, we encounter Camaiore and Pietrasanta, and from here, we reach the Versilia beach. A mandatory stop by the sea to admire the majestic Apuan Alps and the coast. In Viareggio, the day’s efforts come to an end.
Day 7: Lake Massaciuccoli – 39 km – 3.5 hours – Elevation gain 160 m
Three hours of slow cycling to enjoy and savor nature and its scents that envelop us.
On a green cycle path, we reach Nozzano Castle. Here, the first stop to admire the stunning panorama of cultivated fields, the surrounding hills, and the other fortified places on the border between Lucca and Pisa: the Aquila Tower and the castles of Castiglione and Ripafratta.
We resume the journey and face the gentle ascent of Monte Balbano (a hundred meters in three kilometers with a maximum slope of 4%).
After the summit, a mandatory stop for the souvenir photo with the splendid view of Lake Massaciuccoli, the coast, and the Tuscan Archipelago. After a fun descent, we cycle along the roads bordering the lake and the pleasant ups and downs of Gattaiola.
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