After 3 days exploring Cinque Terre's towns and hiking trails, we decided to head out of the region for a day trip on the last day of our 4-night visit. Lucca is a hidden gem tucked between Pisa and Florence. It has a quaint old town enclosed within a wall with many architectural treasures. It was a world different from the tourist-inundated streets of its famous neighbours, and only under 2 hours by train from the Cinque Terre region.
San Martino's asymmetry is due to the incorporation of an earlier building.
Santi Giovanni e Reparata was the town's cathedral until the early 8th century, so it was no surprise plenty of historic remains were found when excavating this site.
Piazza Napoleone is Lucca's political centre. A fortress and palace was originally built here in the 14th century, but was demolished when the ruling class was evicted decades later. Today's piazza was built by Napoleon's sister with sycamore trees that surround the square.
San Michele in Foro's incredibly-detailed facade is easy to spot. The church actually is not finished as money ran out.
Medieval buildings surround Piazza Anfiteatro, once home to a Roman amphitheatre. No wonder the buildings look a bit curved.
San Frediano is a Pisan Romanesque church with a 13th century mosaic on the outside.
Lucca's golden age was during the 11th to 14th centuries thanks to silk. It came under Napoleon's control and continued to prosper from silk and olive oil.