To visit Siena or Lucca, that is the question.
For all of you facing this dilemma, Dievole offers a list of pros, cons and secret tips on how to survive this oh so difficult turning point in your journey. Sure, Siena is closer to us… but we’ll try to be as impartial as possible.
Lucca is a maze of hidden piazzas and winding alleys so if you’re not keen on getting lost, perhaps you should carefully study your sight-seeing itinerary before entering the city walls. But remember: if authenticity is what you’re looking for, walking off the beaten track is always a good idea. October and November might be tricky months, given the enormous number of visitors that crowd the streets during the annual Lucca Comics & Games Festival.
Located at the foot of the Apuan Alps, Lucca is strewn with beautiful gardens, archeological ruins and renaissance villas. It is also known as “the city of 100 churches”, all stemming from different eras, last but not least the amazing gothic-style cathedral of San Martino. You can enjoy an amazing scenic promenade treading the city’s ancient walls, where you can peer over the ramparts and admire the surrounding countryside. The Giunigi Tower is a world-renowned attraction because of the small tree garden that grows at the summit of its romanesque-Gothic structure.
If you’re a fan of Opera Music, your ears will find paradise in Lucca, birthplace of famed composer Giacomo Puccini, to whom the city dedicates several events all throughout the year. Lucca is also home to the Lucca Comics and Games Festival, a fun-packed event which takes place annually during the months of October and November, and music sensation Lucca Summer Festival. If you want to put your tastebuds to the test, grab a bite of “Buccellato”, one of Lucca most renowned local sweets. This ring-shaped shortbread cake is available all year round, while if you want to enjoy a steaming bowl of typical “Garmugia” or “Farinata” soups, keep in mind that they tend to be seasonal… and pair wonderfully with a glass of Dievole Chianti Classico!
Lucca is easy to reach by train and is well connected with the other main Tuscan cities. If the weather suits, Lucca is also close to the sea – take a 30-minute train ride to enjoy a nice day of fresh seafood and sun on the Versilian coast.
Siena is far more well known than Lucca, so get ready to deal with some serious tourism overflow that might threaten the tranquillity of your day-trip, especially if you visit Siena during the Palio di Siena in July and August. The right timing is key when it comes to visit Siena. Although it is reachable both by bus and by train, it does feel quite isolated – it would probably be best to travel by car in order to not have to depend on fixed time schedules – this way you can also freely explore the Chianti Classico countryside and the surrounding wine regions! Parking can be quite expensive – and keep an eye out for jacked up prices and tourist traps. We suggest sleeping outside the city walls and coming to town extra-early in order to enjoy the city as it slowly awakens.
Siena has so much offer: stunning façades, breathtaking views, awe-inspiring churches and riveting works of art. Once you have visited the historical Piazza del Campo, the Duomo or the 87-meter high Torre del Mangia, you will fully realise that there’s nothing quite like this Tuscan city (So much for us being impartial… oh well!). Food-wise, you’re really bound to be spoilt by choice! Fresh handmade “pici” pasta with boar meat sauce and, naturally, famed “panforte” fruitcake are a must (the latter tastes even better with our Vin Santo sweet wine!). Siena is also literally surrounded by wine producing regions (Chianti Classico, Montalcino, San Gimignano) so you can take your pick and set out for a tasting session among the vineyards or simply sip some quality red in an Osteria. Siena is the perfect setting for sunset promenades – a space where time seems to have fled, leaving an allure of medieval rapture and poetry. Visit Siena and you’ll understand what we’re talking about.
So whether you’re looking for the walled romanticism of Lucca or the hillside perfection of Siena, hopefully we’ve helped you make your mind up – if not, you can always try to visit Siena AND Lucca, planning a pitstop in the heart of our verdant Chianti Classico! One things is sure: there are no wrong choices here!