Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Thu January 21 2016

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  • A Cruising Couple | January 21, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    5 Reasons To Fall In Love With Lucca, Italy

    5 Reasons To Fall In Love With Lucca, Italy

    We’ve traveled extensively throughout Italy, but one destination that has long stayed with us is the ever-so-lovely Tuscan town of Lucca. A well-preserved Renaissance city perched on the Serchio River, Lucca is as charming as could be. Cobblestone roads, tree-lined promenades and Renaissance walls are just a few of the characteristics that prompt tourists to linger a little longer than first planned. But that’s not all. Discover five of our top reasons you’re bound to fall in love with Lucca:

    Lucca, Italy

    Photo via Flickr/neiljs

    The Duomo di San Martino

    Lucca Duomo-1

    Photo via Flickr/PapaPiper

    Lucca’s main duomo is a stunning marble cathedral, an excellent example of Pisan Romanesque art and architecture. While the outside is beautiful, it’s what is housed inside that is truly noteworthy. Hidden among the Duomo’s treasures is the Volvo Santo, a crucifix that, as pointed out by Conde Nast Traveller, is said to have been carved by Nicodemus, then floated across the Mediterranean from the Holy Land. The dark cedar wood is a phenomenal work of art. If visiting Lucca in September, don’t miss the annual procession commemorating the Volvo Santo.

    RELATED: Explore Lucca Italy

    The Palazzo Pfanner

    The beautiful baroque Palazzo Pfanner dates back to 1660, when it was first built as the home to the noble Moriconi family. Since that time the property changed hands a few times until it eventually found the Pfanner family in 1846 (who still own and live in the palazzo to this day). It’s possible to take a tour of the Palazzo exhibitions, but the true, undeniable beauty is in the Palazzo’s gardens. Wander through the grounds, admire the exquisitely manicured gardens and feel transported into an era long gone.

    The Torre Guinigi

    Torre delle Ore, Lucca

    Photo via Flickr/D Smith

    It’s impossible to miss the sheer Torre Guinigi that rises above via Saint’Andrea. The brick tower dates back to the 1300s, and is characterized by the shady holm oaks that crown the top, a symbol of rebirth. Climb to the top of the tower and take in the architectural beauty of Lucca from high above.

    The Bike Trails

    While the numerous historical attractions make Lucca a crucial addition to any travel bucket list, what truly struck us about the city was how easy it was to enjoy walking and cycling around the perimeter. Four kilometers (two-and-a-half miles) of bike lanes make it easy to go for a leisurely cycle or jog while enjoying the setting sun and gearing up for an aperitif.

    Walking on the Wall (Lucca)

    Photo via Flickr/Bongo Vongo

    The Food

    Is any love letter to Italy complete without mentioning the food? Of course not! In particular, Lucca boasts a unique cuisine that is some of the best in all of Tuscany. Don’t miss tortelli lucchese, a rich egg pasta stuffed with meat and topped with heavy ragu. Farro soup, rabbit and salt cod are other specialties. The rich hills surrounding Lucca promise plenty of local vineyards with mouthwatering wines to accompany your meals. And whatever you do, don’t miss a visit to Gelateria le Bonta for dessert.

    RELATED: Delta Vacations Adds Wine and Olive Oil Tastings in Italy

    Extra Tip: Most make Lucca a quick day trip from Florence, a mere afterthought once they have seen the mega tourist attraction of Tuscany’s capital. However, we recommend spending at least one night in Lucca to fully enjoy its attractions, restaurants and ambiance.

    These are just five of the many reasons to fall in love with Lucca. However, we recommend venturing out yourself to discover the small hidden gems that truly make this city a destination worth exploring.

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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