Lucca Walking Guide

Here is a map and the guide to see that beautiful historic city.

Lucca-Italy-Tourist-Map.mediumthumbedit (3).jpg

Lucca is a walled medieval city a few hours away from Florence. It is the perfect carpe diem day getaway destination if you decide to spend some time in Tuscany.

Take the train; the best way to visit Italy. The train station is right outside of the walls. Enter the fortress city and the first thing you will see is the Lucca Cathedral. On Sundays, there is a flea market from the front of the Cathedral to Napoleon Square. On Napoleon Square, there is the Sunday food market. it is the perfect place to get a local food for lunch and then go sit on the rampart to enjoy it. The ramparts are the place to take a lunch break or bike around the city. Passagiate delle Muro or the tree line pathway on that 16th, 17th-century ramparts is very peaceful and magical.

From the Cathedral, walk towards El Torre Guinigi. Make the effort to go on top of the tower to have a great view of the brick roof city. There is also a garden on top of the tower; a garden in the sky.

Walk towards the main square, Piazza Amfiteatro for all the cafes and little stores. The Frediano Church is in front of the piazza.

Piazza Amfiteatro
Piazza Amfiteatro
Frediano Church
Frediano Church

Take the small streets of the old town to St Michele Square full of cafes like the Buccellato Taddeucci café bakery.

St Michele in Foro
St Michele in Foro

For a sweet break, go to Gelaterium, where you can have a gelato and swing! Going back to childhood feels great. It is by Napoleon Square.

Gelaterium
Gelaterium

Top 10 things to do in Lucca

  1. Bike on the ramparts around the walled city
  2. Have a gelato and swing at the Gelaterium
  3. Get lost in the old town
  4. Have coffee and a cake at Buccellato Taddeucci café bakery on St Michele Square
  5. Have a bread a Forne a Vapore Bakery
  6. Have Pizza at Pizza da Felice
  7. Have more bread at Forno Casali Bakery
  8. Visit Lucca Cathedral
  9. Visit the Frediano Church famous for its mosaic
  10. Go up the Torre Guinigi. for a breathtaking view of the walled city.
Advertisements

A Day in Tuscany

Siena, San Gimignano and Greve in Chianti Day Trip from Florence with Wine Tasting

Wanting to see Tuscany in one day is very hard. Taking a tour is the way to go. I booked the Tuscany Tour with Viator. They offer the perfect itinerary:  Siena, San Gimignano and Greve in Chianti Day Trip with of course Wine Tasting. Travel with Viator through the picturesque countryside in Tuscany to discover those three places.

We first stopped at the Tuscan gems of San Gimignano. It is a medieval hilltop town. We had 30 minutes to walk around that walled city. Walk through the old narrow passages; the small shops have great souvenirs. You will soon get to the triangular Piazza della Cisterna and Piazza del Duomo where you will found painters working on their art. Go towards the walls and enjoy the view of all the nearby wineries.

We then stopped in Siena for lunchtime. We had some times to grab lunch or just walk around on our way. Then we met up at the main square Piazza del Campo for a walking tour of the city. Piazza del Campo is the home to Siena’s Horse race called Palio. That race organized twice a year, see ten of the seventeen contrada or districts of the city circle the narrow piazza three times or usually 90 seconds after which there is only one jockey left on his horse. The Palio maintains the rivalry that exists between all the contrada and reanimates all the passion people have for their contrada.  We then had a chance to visit the Contrada’s Museum for Contrada of Aquila (Eagle) and learn the history behind that contrada. We then headed to Piazza del Duomo to admire the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta; what a majestic cathedral. We finally walked through the historic center of Siena that has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site to get to Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico.

After all, those walking we traveled through the picturesque Chianti countryside, passed by olive groves, green hills, and vineyards to get to  Chianti in Greve for a tasty wine tasting session at a great winery on the hillside. We tasted great white but of course red Chianti wine with some cheese. Make sure to leave with some wine and cheese. It is a great way to remember that day trip once you get back home. It was raining so we didn’t have the chance to walk around or go to the barrel cave.

Finally, you will get to see Greve. It’s a very small town. You can take a break the at the main square Piazza Giacomo Matteotti where you can admire the statue of Giovanni Verrazano and buy amazing salamis at Antica Macelleria Falorni.

Greve Piazza Giacomo Matteotti
Greve Piazza Giacomo Matteotti under the rain

Thank you Viator for nailing another tour.

<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/18296513/?claim=2cmnfva8wc5″>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Ultimate Guide to Cartagena

I stayed in Boca Grande, the Miami Beach of Cartagena. The other good place to stay is inside the walled city, in the old town.

 

Day 1: The walled city and the fortress

Enter the walled city. The clock tower, Puerta Del Reloj, is the symbol of the city. When walking around, you will see colorful Fruit Ladies. Tip them and you will be able to take pictures. The old town has the most famous ice cream shops. If it’s a hot day, you will need to go to Gelato Paradiso for a threat. For lunch or happy hour stop at Plaza Santo Domingo to enjoy a drink, traditional food and at happy hour time, the Colombian dancers gather and you can admire the Maple Dance, the traditional dance by the slaves.

After the visit of the old town, head first to the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, the old fortress and then to La Popa, a cathedral on top of the city. You will need to get a cab to go to those 2 places.

At night, have dinner at the sophisticated restaurant La Vitrola. It is a dressy spot for both locals and tourists. Then walk to Café del Mar at the entrance of the walled city. The huge outdoor lounge offers the best view possible of the sunset. Grab a Club Colombia Beer and enjoy the best DJ. That lounge is my favorite lounge is the world.

 

Day 2: The Rosario Islands and Playa Blanca

You will need to book a tour to get to that beach. Every morning the boats leave for Playa Blanca from the main port. Note that you will have to pay for a port tax. It is a 45min ride and you will found yourself in paradise. The Water is clear and the sand white.  The Seafood lunch is part of the tour and it is so good. The downside is the beach is full of locals that are trying to sell you items. Be patient and politely say no.

If you want a private beach, you will have to go to a resort.

At night, you can party on a Chiva Party Bus. Book the party bus at your hotel or online. The Chiva Bus is a typical Colombian Party Bus. They pick you up at the hotel; there are music and local alcohol on the bus. Everybody is dancing and singing. After partying in the bus, all the Chiva buses stop at the walled city before dropping everybody off at a club in Getsemani. They come back around midnight to pick you up.

 

Day 3:

  • You can go to the beach in Cartagena.
  • You can go to Santa Marta Beach by boat or taxi but it is 4h away! You might want to stay the night there to fully enjoy the beach and relax
  • You can so go to the Lost City – El Pueblito, the archeological remains of a lost city in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in The Tayrona´s National park. Again, it will be better to stay in the area for the night to fully enjoy the experience.
  • You can go to the Mud Volcano and enjoy healing powers of the mud baths