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April 2019 | Tour Director: Christopher Wellington



• Trace the footsteps of medieval pilgrims as they stopped en route to Rome

• Trace the city’s own cultural and artistic journey, from spectacular church facades to delightful gardens

• Discover Lucca’s best art collections housed in some of the city’s most beautiful buildings, including the stunning Palazzo Mansi, built for a wealthy local silk merchant

The ancient Tuscan city of Lucca embraces a wealth of historical and cultural treasures, from the elliptical Piazza dell’Anfiteatro – a charming central plaza echoing Lucca’s original amphitheatre – to the Romanesque splendours of the Basilica of San Frediano.

Lucca’s walls once welcomed pilgrims journeying along the famous Via Francigena, a medieval route stretching to Rome from as far north as Canterbury. Today, the city’s remarkably preserved ramparts still encircle the old town, our base during our tour and an enchanting warren of quiet streets, secret churches, vaulted passages and historical towers.

Developing over time into a major medieval trade route, the Via Francigena helped Lucca to grow in prosperity and renown. Yet today, unlike some of its more crowded counterparts, the city maintains a bewitching sense of calm. Its streets and landmarks soon become familiar, and it is easy to succumb to the myriad of architectural gems and quaint cafes, stunning villas and peaceful gardens.

Adopting a relaxed pace, our tour will encompass the architectural, artistic and historical highlights of Lucca, while leaving plenty of time for further exploration. The medieval pilgrims’ journey will come to life at the Porta del Borgo; while a museum dedicated to one of the city’s most celebrated sons, Giacomo Puccini, presents tantalising glimpses of the composer’s own journey towards artistic greatness. Ecclesiastical history will rise to the fore with visits to the magnificent Cathedral of Saint Martin, with its three-arched portico, and the Basilica of San Michele in Foro. A medley of arcades and statues, the basilica’s extraordinary 13th century façade supports a statue of the Archangel Michael, to whom the church is dedicated.

Delving into the city’s artistic heritage, Lucca’s impressive pre-modern collections will greet us in the Villa Guinigi; while the Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Mansi, housed in a Baroque palace retaining many beautiful original features, presents a rich assembly of tapestries and post-19th century artwork. A short excursion away from Lucca, meanwhile, will take us to the grounds of the 17th century Villa Reale di Marlia, one of Italy’s most celebrated monuments, where we will discover a network of captivating gardens bathed in spring sunshine.

We will stay in the Hotel Ilaria, a charming historical establishment overlooking a beautiful park. Situated in the centre of Lucca’s old town, the Ilaria is a short walk from most of the major sites on our tour.


Apr 2019
DAYS | 7


 Make an enquiry for your bespoke departure now.
Full details released in early 2018:

some details may be subject to change. Contact the ACE office now to register you interest. 



Christopher Wellington explained so well the history of the wonderful places we visited.


We hope to offer Lucca as the second in a new series of more gently paced tours, created specially for those who prefer a more laid-back, less physically demanding itinerary while retaining the same high level of academic content. Walking distances are typically shorter, visits are more relaxed, and time is dedicated to the gradual appreciation of, and explorations within, our immediate surroundings. Hotels will usually be situated in central locations to allow for ease of access to major sites as well as local amenities; while group members are regularly encouraged to enjoy each location in their own way and at their own pace.




   Lucca Cathedral

   Piazza dell'anfiteatro, Lucca




Christopher Wellington, MA

Christopher graduated in history from Cambridge University, but has spent most of his career working in Italy, where he lives with his family in Piacenza. He is a recognised guide in Emilia Romagna. Christopher's professional interests include not only history and the Church but also art and architecture, especially of the Middle Age.