Lucca is the home of everything fabulous about Italy. Fantastic restaurants, shopping and churches galore means there is something for everyone.
A couple of our favourite restaurants are side by side in the little square that has the seated man. It is on the corner of Corte San Lorenzo and Via Di Piggio.
The boys who own and run Paris Boheme are lovely but sometimes disappear when they can.
Also in this square is a lovely little ceramics shop that sells typical Tuscan painted plates etc.
CLOSER TO ‘THE TURRET’…
Closer to home and on the way to Castelnuovo is ‘Bonini’ – the card below shows the map. I would put it in your GPS and go from there. Call to make a booking as they are a local restaurant with all fresh produce and as with all Italian restaurants, can decide not to open if they feel for it. Along the way, we say these massive wild boar. They looked like rocks until they moved. Keep an eye out for them. Also, they are delicious when you see Wild Boar on the menu.
MUCH CLOSER TO ‘THE TURRET’.
Just up the road in La Villa is Hotel Europa. It is just tucked away off the main street through the village. There are banks on the corner and you take the lane way slightly to the left of a small paved triangular area. It is fabulous food, even better local wine and a lovely home made atmosphere.
Pizza and even more homemade pasta – their speciality is Ravioli with Ragu. Their pizza’s are also amazing.
It is called the ‘Il Follett’ – ‘Elf’ Restaurant. If you drive up stream from the Turret and you see the bridge going left into La Villa. Just a few hundred metres up the road from there is this restaurant. It is tricky to find, but drive slowly. There is a group of shops and it is just past the Laundrette, on the left and then their carpark. Across the road is the shop that makes Christmas and Graveyard ornaments – it is massive.
Also in La Villa is the first Pizza shop we ever ate at when we first arrived. It is family owned as well. Has the coldest beer says Alby and is fast and tasty. Easy to find. It is at the entrance to La Villa on the left. He has flags out the front and it is opposite a very grand villa that was a restaurant and a fountain in the main carpark.
This coffee shop is in Fornoli just near the swing bridge. On the same side of the swing bridge with grey chairs out the front. Paolo speaks perfect English and if you need anything – he can assist. I needed a doctor and he made a call and problem solved, very easily. He has great coffee as well. Also, like all coffee shops you can also have a drink of wine, Aperol Spritz or whatever you feel for in the same place at any time of the day. He also organises dinners and functions at the Casino, so perhaps ask him if anything is planned while you are staying in the area.
Across the road from Paolo’s cafe is the butcher shop. Very un-butchershop like building. Inside you will find a cabinet with the freshest meat that could be anything from lamb, beef, turkey or chicken. It is not like home but is fresh and cheap.
His wife is Thai and speaks good english. You will also see John in Bar Italia at times if you get to meet him. Lovely man.
CHIANTI REGION – about an hours drive away
If you are off to the Chianti Region which is near Vinci, Greve – you can stay at this fabulous winery. Vicchiomaggio. I would google it and call first if you would like to stay in a magnificent castle on top of a hill overlooking the vineyards. A swimming pool is a welcome relief in summer. They have massive rooms and fabulous breakfasts, wine tasting tour and at times, evenings in the grand ballroom with 8 course dinner and wine. We had an absolute hoot here. The wine tasting shop at the gate (right beside the main road into Greve – on a hairpin bend) is beautiful. Taste some of the best wines on offer in Chianti.
If shopping is your thing – just down the street in Via Buia is a great handbag shop that sells lovely Italian leather handbags that can either be made larger or smaller by a series of clips. Well worth a look especially if you love bright colours – The brand is GABS Frienze. There are loads of great shops and I most definitely have not been in all of them.