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Lucca is a city in the Italian region of Tuscany. The city is on the river Serchio in a very fertile plain near the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Lucca.

Founded by the Etruscans, Lucca became a Roman colony in 180 BC. Traces of that settlement can be seen throughout the city, especially in the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. The city thrived through the 8th to 11th centuries as a center of the silk trade. It’s beautiful streets and walls testify to this history as well as the 13th century when Lucca defeated Florence in the battle of Altopascio. The fortification walls encircling the old town remain intact. Once they lost their military importance, they became a pedestrian promenade which today modern day Lucchesi jog, hold yoga classes, and cycle around under great birch trees.

Lucca is the birthplace of the opera composer Giacomo Puccini so it is no surprise that the biggest festival is the Lucca Summer Festival. The 2015 headliners included Lauryn Hill, Bob Dylan, Los Lobos, and Elton John among others. Lucca also hosts the Comics and Games Festival, the largest of its kind in Italy. Italy can be slightly formal in its summer fashions, however Lucca is extremely laid back, with shorts, T-shirts and sandals making up the everyday uniform. The most convenient way to get around the city is by bicycle, which can be rented from many sources.

Lucca is delightful in the summer. Have an amazing gelato, hop on your bike and ride around on top of the walls. At the day’s end historic cafes and restaurants tempt you to relax over a glass of Lucchesi wine and a slow progression of rustic dishes prepared with fresh produce from the nearby verdant river valley of Garfagnana.

This is Italy.