Leisure in the province of Lucca - Italy
The following information refers to the proposed three itineraries. For more details on all the events organized in the province all year round, please refer to the section of this website “Links” (Municipality of Lucca - Tourist service and Itinera Srl - Municipality of Lucca tourism and promotion agency).
On the coastline
During the summer Versilia coast offers a lot of amusement possibilities for the evening.
One of the most lively city in the area is Pietrasanta. Reach in very peculiar boutiques (open until late at night), wine bars, restaurants, art galleries and laboratories - all located in the wonderful historical city centre – you can walk from one point to another crossing the open air museum, the city itself full of temporary but continuous art expositions.
Pietrasanta is not only a cultural city but also a sea side resort in Marina di Pietrasanta. Here you can attend the performances at La Versiliana theatre. Held here each summer for the last twenty years, the festival has become a highly popular and successful nationwide event.
Next to Marina di Pietrasanta, Forte dei Marmi. Today the city, thanks to its well equipped beaches, famous brands boutiques (open until late at night), trendy bars and countless art galleries, is one of the most exclusive places for the holidays, especially for the jet-set. Forte dei Marmi is a luxury shopping centre in Tuscany. In the city centre you can find all the best brands of Italian fashion and design.
Along the coast line, from Pietrasanta to Viareggio, you can find several discotheques very well known in Tuscany.
Still along the coast line, just after Lido di Camaiore and Viareggio, you can reach Torre del Lago Puccini. The town adopted Giacomo Puccini and here, in his house facing the lake, he has wrote part of his most famous pieces, but Turandot.
During the months of July and August, the annual Puccini Festival presents the most famous operas of the Italian composer (born in Lucca) in the open-air theatre, with a wonderful view on the Massaciuccoli lake.
During the winter, in February/March, vistors cannot miss the opportunity to have fun in Viareggio, the Italian Carnival capital. For a whole month the city transforms into the factory of fun, including parades of papier-mâché giant, night parties, fireworks and masked balls.
In the city
Music is also the main actor of Lucca summer nights thanks to the Lucca Summer Festival, one of the main pop musical event in Tuscany and very well known at national level. On the stage, take it in turns some of the most influential international artists of the musical panorama. Move forward in seasons, during the last week-end of October, each year, Lucca is literally invaded by comics and games lovers. In fact, the city hosts the International Festival of Comics, Animation, Illustration and Games. Lucca Comics & Games is the largest comics festival in Europe and the second biggest in the world after the Comiket (Japan).
On the mountain
A valley runs parallel to the coast, hugged by the soft, shady heights of the Apennine chain, and the harsh white peaks of the Apuanes Alps. Here, the “Eco-museum” of Garfagnana and its cultural itineraries, shows the identity of this land: itineraries of Ligurian Apuans, itineraries of Middle Ages, of castles, of rural culture where archaeological parks museums are located and, among them, the Museo dell’Identità dell’Alta Garfagnana “Olinto Cammelli”, the Museum included in the EXTRAEXPO path entitled: “High Garfagnana, the unexpected itinerary”.
Along the year, special events can be attended by tourists traveling along this route.
One of the most typical tradition of the area is the so-called “Canti del maggio” (May songs). They are a kind of epic Italian folk theatre that involves ritual, music, dance, and dramatization, with some inflections in dialect, representing the welcome to the good weather coming after a long winter. The “Canti del maggio” symbolize a rebirth to life. Every year, during the night of the 30th of April, the Gorfigliano company sings along the streets of the village.
Gorfigliano is also well known as the “Natalecci village”. The Natalecci are traditional and very high bonfires built during the Christmas period weaving juniper branches to a chestnut trunk. Every year, on December, 24th at 6 p.m. they are set on fire. The tradition has an ancient origin and maybe the practice was introduced to alert the population when enemies were arriving next to the village. For sure it was a propitiatory ritual in occasion of the winter solstice. The pagan ritual has become a tradition linked to Christmas and the fires warm up the Baby Jesus and also represents the wishes for the New Year.
Apart from these special events, wonderful locations can be visited in the neighbourhood. Gorfigliano is in fact located inside the Apuanes Alps Regional Park and the hikers can walk from here to the Campocatino and the San Viano hermitage. Campocatino is a very big field that originates from an ancient glacial basin. It is a suggestive location that has been recognized as a natural oasis by the Italian League for the births defence (LIPU).
Campocatino can also be reached by car. Once here, to visit San Viano hermitage, it is necessary to park the car as the hermitage, nestled in the stone, is reachable only on foot. Walking through the destination, the visitors will cross forests of beech and chestnut trees and, at the end of the path, will discover breath-taking panoramas.
The area offers also great opportunities for speleologists that can explore the Tambura Mount. This is the easily peak of the Apuanes; it is a sort of big pyramid with a triangular basis and constituted by 3 ridges and 3 slopes. The North slope, named Carcaraia, is the less steep and it has a karts origin.