From Prague, we decided to head for Italy. We had a long journey ahead of us across the entire Austria and a third of Italy. We chose Lucca as our place of stay. It is located right near the tourist hotspot of Pisa, yet it offers a much quieter and more comfortable living environment.

 

An Overnight Stop in Trins

 

We traveled to Lucca by car. It would take us about 12 hours of non-stop drive to get to Lucca. Of course, even for us, it would be tiring to travel in a car for such a long time. And our boys would definitely take it even harder. So, in the middle of the way, we stopped for a night in Trins.

Trins is a small Austrian town located in the Province of Tyrol. It is a perfect place for those seeking to escape the bustling city life and spend some time surrounded by nature.

The beauty of Trins is captivating: nestled amidst lush forests, crystal clear rivers, and waterfalls cascading down from high mountains, this small town represents the essence of Sicilian nature.

 

Despite its tiny size, Trins also has its own small attractions. For example, there is a small 15th-century church in the very heart of town.

And for winter sports enthusiasts, Trins offers a small ski resort.

 

History of Lucca

 

Lucca is a very old city. According to some hypotheses, people founded the first settlement here before 180 BC. Back then, it was known as “luk”, which meant “surrounded by water”.

Later, when the settlement became a Roman colony, it turned into a real city, and its name was changed to Luca. The Romans rebuilt the city, constructing the amphitheater, the forum, and the fortress wall. In the downtown, they also laid out streets, running from north to south and from east to west. The streets divided the city into blocks – insulae – and intersected at the forum. These streets and the forum remain the most vibrant and bustling areas of Lucca today.

Throughout its history, Lucca remained a relatively prosperous city. From the 6th to 8th centuries, roads connected it to Rome, Pisa, Florence, and other major Italian cities. In the 11th century, the silk trade, continuing throughout the Middle Ages, greatly enriched Lucca.

In the late 18th century, Lucca became part of Napoleon’s empire, and he appointed his sister Elisa as “Princess of Lucca”. This event is mentioned in Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”: “Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes.”

Finally, in the 19th century, Lucca joined the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and then, in 1861, became part of the Italian state.

 

The Walled City of Lucca

 

The defining feature of Lucca is the long wall. It encircles its historic downtown, also known as the old town, all the way around. The wall stretches for about 4.2 kilometers and was constructed between the 15th and 16th centuries as a fortification. Remarkably, it has remained largely intact throughout the centuries to this day.