Tuscany by motorcycle – idea of that trip has been in our heads for a long time. We were dreaming of routes between olive groves and vineyards. Among the fields, tall cypresses, the stunning smell of herbs and the sound of cicadas. When we were planning our first motorcycle holiday for the first time, we knew immediately that it would be Tuscany.
Tuscany by motorcycle – through Lucca and Pisa to the sea
We’ve been in Tuscany for a few days. We spent most of our time exploring charming towns, where time passed quickly, because the sun always went to sleep too early, and also slowly because the time seemed to stop there. We were eating the delicacies of local cuisine in roadside trattorias. In a word, we absorbed everything that can be described as the Italian climate. But that day, at breakfast, we wanted something else – we just wanted to lay down on the beach. A quick research of the map on the phone and we calculated a route that included Lukka, Pisa and the sea of course. And some of you, who were in the same area, are now smiling under your nose and guessing how our laziness ended. Below is our route, although if we will plan that trip again in the future, Cinque Terre would certainly be there, as one of the stops.
Tuscany by motorcycle – first stop – Lucca
Walking along the narrow streets of Lucca, you can really fall in love with this city. Fantastic gates, portals, balconies, and balustrades. And all surrounded by fully-preserved walls, silent witnesses of the last 400 years of the city’s history. At every step, something that delights and captivates. For some, Lucca is the number one Tuscan city. Lucca is a city so cameral and small that it takes only one or two days to see the entire town. Undoubtedly, the most famous attractions are San Martino Cathedral and the church of San Michele in Foro. However, those monuments did not make the biggest impression on us. Beautiful squares, the old town surrounded by walls, charming streets, and romantic alleys – in our opinion these are the strengths of Lucca.
Monuments of Lucca – San Martino Cathedral
The construction of the cathedral began in 1063, but what it looks like today is due to the 13th and 14th-century reconstruction. Inside there is a crucifix – Volto Santo, which is considered to be the true image of Christ and it is thanks to him that the church, although smaller than San Michele in Foro and located on the side, gained the name of a cathedral. We stood in front of the cathedral for a long time and wondered what was wrong with it. There was something disturbing about it. At one moment we realized that each column is different, which disturbs the perfect symmetry we are used to when looking at other Italian churches and cathedrals. We did some internet searching because we couldn’t find in the guides, to why is that. According to the local legend, the inhabitants of Lucca organized a contest for the most beautiful column. Apparently they were all so beautiful that they couldn’t decide which one was the most beautiful, so they decided to use all the prototype speakers. And since nobody won, none of the artists got paid for them – that’s what they did.
Monuments of Lucca – San Michele in Foro
San Michele in Foro was built in the 7th century in the very center of the city. And although it is considered to be the most beautiful temple in the city, it does not have the status of a cathedral. The façade is decorated with two-colored marble from nearby Carrara. The contrasting colors add classic charm and elegance to the façade. The contrast between the almost dark interior and the bright Tuscan sunny facade is also very interesting.
Monuments of Lucca – squares, charming alleys and romantic streets
That’s what we think is Lucca’s main strength. A peculiar Piazza Anfiteatro, where the amphitheater originally stood. The tight streets, along which you can find narrow houses, wrought-iron balconies, knockers on doors, bells, and all of that surrounded by medieval walls. Lucca really can fight for the top spot in the ranking of the most beautiful Tuscan cities and proudly stand on the podium next to Siena and Florence.
Are you looking for a place to stay in Lucca?
We would be pleased if you could use our referral link to BOOKING.COM. You will appreciate the time we spend on running our blog and help us to expand it further. Below you will also find our suggestions for accommodation in Lucca.
Tuscany by motorcycle – second stop – Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is probably one of the most recognizable architectural monuments not only in Italy but also all over the world – the second one is the Eiffel Tower. No doubt, you have to visit Pisa at least once in your life, but will we return to it? I don’t think so. 10 million tourists a year defeated us. And I don’t think we have to explain why.
Pisa – why is the Leaning Tower leaning?
Torre pendente, or our so-called Leaning Tower, stands on the Field of Miracles – Campo dei Miracoli. It has 8 floors, weighs 14 thousand tons, its current leaning is 4 meters and has survived 3 strong earthquakes in this region of Tuscany because it is… leaning. But has it always been like this? Well, yes. They chose a rather poor subsoil, very soft and clayey, which was complemented by bad foundations. The builder immediately noticed a deflection from the vertical but tried to eliminate it by shifting the weight of gravity to the left. Effects? The Leaning Tower was closed to visitors until 2001 until when engineers found a way to avoid the threat of the tower collapsing. The works were supervised by Michele Jemiolkowski, an Italian of Polish origin. What more can you see on the Field of Miracles? Right next to the Leaning Tower, there is also a beautiful XI century cathedral, baptistery, and cemetery. In our opinion, the cathedral deserves much more attention than the well-known campanilla. In the interior, which may seem quite raw, there are 68 columns from a single block of the stone, pulpit, by which there is a lantern of Galileo and the tomb of Henry VII.
Are you looking for a place to stay in Pisa?
We would be pleased if you could use our referral link to BOOKING.COM. You will appreciate the time we spend on running our blog and help us to expand it further. Below you will also find our suggestions for accommodation in Pisa.
Pisa – Campo dei Miracoli – pay if you would like to see something
Campo dei Miracoli, the sacred field, was sprinkled with earth from Golgotha. This is probably the only place in the world where peoples dared for such a thing. Do you want access to earthly Jerusalem? Unfortunately, you have to pay.
- Ticket to the Baptistery, the Camposanto Cemetery, and the Museum will cost you 5 € separately, entrance to the two attractions 7 € and all three € 8.
- The entrance to the cathedral is free. If you have purchased one of the above tickets, you can enter the cathedral at any time, if not, you must go to the ticket office and ask for a free ticket for a specific hour. Without a ticket, we will not be admitted to the cathedral.
- Ticket to the Leaning Tower is purchased separately for a specific hour. It costs 18 € and despite the fact that we wanted to climb the tower very much, there were no more spots.
Tuscany by motorcycle – third stop – Viareggio
We quickly evacuated from the Pisa, town flooded with people and kitschy souvenirs. If we knew, we would probably give it up completely a few hours earlier, though, on the other hand, it is advisable to visit Pisa at last one time to form our own opinion. In the evening, finally, we managed to reach the Ligurian Sea. The lazy day on the beach became a day of quite active sightseeing, but we don’t regret any kilometer (maybe a little of Pisa). Well, that’s how it happens – it’s not our first and certainly not our last disappointment.
A bunch of useful links at the end
- Are you in Tuscany on a motorcycle? Check our route through the Apennines. Description of the route, photos and map can be found here.
- Are you going to Florence? Take a look at what we saw in one day. Florence – what to see in the heart of sunny Tuscany.
- Do you have a maximum of 2-3 hours for sightseeing? Visit the tiny and cameral Prato and feel its magical atmosphere.
- Practically information about Italy, what to look for and prepare for, you will find in our guide Italy practically.
- Our route, which we chose when going to Italy, is described here. You will find there a map and useful information.
- Do you go further on the Italian highways? Check in our article what costs you have to prepare for.
- We wrote about the traffic regulations and parking rules in Italy in this article.