If you’re coming to Tuscany with your family, you’ve likely heard that Lucca’s a family-friendly Tuscan city you should add to your itinerary.
It’s true! Lucca’s a great place to spend some time with kids – whether on a day trip or for a few days.
I’m a mom of three boys living in Tuscany and we make visits to Lucca throughout the year. If you’re wondering what to do with your kids while you’re in town – here are our favorite things to do!
Enjoy your time in Lucca, nicknamed the ‘city of 100 churches.’ But don’t worry, our list of the best things to do in Lucca with kids doesn’t focus on churches! Instead, we’ll be riding bikes on medieval walls and climbing tree-topped towers!
Andiamo – let’s go!
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Ride on Top of Lucca’s Walls
This is one of our favorite family activities in Tuscany! Everyone can ride – either on his or her own bike, or on a ‘group bike’ that seats 4-6.
Lucca’s walls are 12 meters high and 30 meters wide, so there’s plenty of space for riding a bike (you can see my kids riding on Lucca’s wall in this video).
Along the 4-kilometer path around the city, you can stop and play in the small play areas, have a snack in the grass or at a picnic table, or take the ramps down to the bigger playgrounds.
Fun Fact: Lucca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its well-preserved walls!
Good To Know: If you’re not keen on renting bikes for your crew, you can also walk along the path.
Safety Warning: Remember that the path on the walls is not fenced in. Most of the outer border has a raised section, but kids can still easily climb up on top and fall. DO NOT let your children come close to the edge. Also, many parts of the inner border do not have any sort of barrier.
Tell your kids to stay on the paved area. If you stop to play in the play areas, make sure they stay there and don’t wander to the edge of the walls.
This isn’t to scare you – there are tons of kids cycling and playing on the walls. Just be extra aware of your surroundings, especially with small kids.
Climb the Torre Guinigi
This tends to be a memorable climb for kids (and adults). I can’t tell you how many towers my kids have climbed in Italy, but they can tell you about the tower in Lucca with the trees on top!
The medieval tower is about 45 meters high, and when you get to the top, you’ll enjoy views of the city and countryside. Point out the bell tower (another fun climb, but we prefer the Guinigi Tower for the trees) and the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro.
Fun Fact: Torre Guinigi’s trees are left behind from the old kitchen garden of the building. The kitchen was originally on the floor below.
Visit the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro
Little kids will be happy to just run around in this gorgeous piazza, while your older kids will be interested in the history of the piazza. It was the site of the ancient Roman amphitheater – and you can easily see the shape of it in the modern day piazza. Imagine watching gladiators in the amphitheater with 10,000 other spectators!
Good To Know: If you like checking out piazzas, we also enjoy Lucca’s Piazza Napoleone, Piazza San Martino, and Piazza San Michele).
Visit One of Lucca’s Playgrounds
Our family’s favorite playgrounds in Lucca are (with the best listed first, according to my boys):
Giardino degli Osservanti – padded ground, tons of local kids, plenty of space and fun toys, plenty of benches for parents, no shade
Alessandro Bertolucci Playground – convenient to reach from the walls, shaded area, kids can roll down the short grassy slope
Porta San Donato Playground – shaded area, best for little kids, next to big green space
Explore Lucca’s Botanical Garden
Lucca’s Orto Botanico is a quiet and tranquil place – perfect for pushing a child to sleep in a stroller. But, you can also let your older kids run around and explore and you don’t have to worry about cars. Be sure to look for the fish and have your kids find their favorite tree, plant, or flower.
Investigate St. Michael’s Church
Piazza San Michele is one of our must-stops when we’re in Lucca, especially in the early evening when it’s full of families and locals hanging out.
Have your little ones find the archangel St. Michael (San Michele) on the top of the church, the medieval graffiti on the right side of the church, and the heads on the columns. And, you can explain to older kids that the church was built on the site of the ancient town forum.
Helpful Tip: It’s a lively square and it’s easy to forget that cars can drive on the edge of the piazza. Keep your kids close!
Stroll Via Fillungo
Via Fillungo is the main shopping street in Lucca, and while it’s most animated in the evenings, it’s worth a wander any time of day.
You’ll find international chains, local boutiques, restaurants, bakeries, bookshops and more. It’s the best place in town for a leisurely stroll and window-shopping (or actual shopping).
Helpful Tip: There’s a Città del Sole toy shop at the northern end of Via Fillungo. It’s one of our favorite toy shops in Florence, and the Lucca branch is fabulous as well. And, you can walk a couple of doors down to Gelateria Matta for a scoop of gelato!
Helpful Tip: Etta’s English Bookshop is small-but-mighty and has some fun books for kids, especially Harry Potter fans. It’s just off of Via Fillungo at Chiasso Barletti, 16.
Helpful Tip: Peter Pan (kids shoe shop) always has high-quality shoes for little kids. The women who run the shop are amazing, patient, and helpful – even with wiggly kids!
Our family has a favorite gelateria in town – Gelateria Veneta on Via Veneto. We think it’s one of the best in all of Tuscany!
There are a ton of flavors on offer in this shop, and it’s all homemade. Get your cone or cup and sit outside at one of the tables or go for a stroll.
If you don’t happen to be near the main branch of Gelateria Veneta, there’s another one on Via Fillungo (just north of the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro). We also like Gelateria Matta.
Attend a Festival or Event
Lucca is a small but lively city, and there are plenty of events and activities going on during the year – especially during the summer months. Some of the biggest events that may interest your kids are:
Lucca Comics and Games (late October or early November) – The international comics and games festival has a special section (Junior Area) for families. Note that it does get very crowded, so if you have small children, I’d only attend if you or your older kids are really excited about it.
Lucca Summer Festival (July) – I’ve been to this with kids and I’m on the fence about it. We saw a concert with my young son from reserved bleacher seats. It was fun, but he ended up falling asleep. If you do want to go, try to reserve bleacher seats – not having to fight the crowds makes it doable with kids.
Lucca Christmas Market (December through early January) – If you’re in a festive mood, bring your children to Lucca’s Christmas market!
Things to See & Do Near Lucca with Kids
- Beaches – play in the sand and swim at beaches near Lucca
- Collodi – Visit Pinocchio Park, the Garzoni Gardens, and the Butterfly House
- Pisa – Climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa and explore the rest of the city!
- Pistoia – Stop in at the Pistoia Zoo, explore the city center and Pistoia Underground
- Florence – See David at the Accademia, join a cooking class, climb Giotto’s bell tower, eat amazing gelato
- San Gimignano – Climb the Torre Grossa, check out the town in miniature, eat some of Tuscany’s best gelato
- Bagni di Lucca – Older kids can go rafting or canyoning with Lucca Rafting; try paintball or ride quads with Val di Lima Off-Road; architecture-loving teens will want to stop at the Devil’s Bridge (Ponte del Diavolo) on the drive from Lucca