Studying Abroad in Florence: Hidden Gems


This past weekend, I found a hidden gem of a small, Italian city called Lucca. It elicited the same feeling you get when you reach in the pocket of the winter jacket you have not worn in months and happen upon a ten dollar bill. I would also equate the town to the hole in the wall breakfast place you found freshmen year of college that, thankfully, most people still do not know about.

The town is completely surrounded by a fortified wall with some portions dating back to ancient Roman times. These walls are not just for looks though. You can walk or bike the entire pathway around the city to get a bird’s eye view. The whole walk takes about 45 minutes to an hour and is a great way to get active when you’ve been eating pasta for three straight weeks.

The expansive wall is not the only reminders of ancient Roman architecture! In the center of the city, where an amphitheater once stood, the buildings have been constructed in the same oval fashion to create a cool square. With similar color patterns and matching shutters, the place makes for a great Instagram spot. The Guinigi Tower also provides the perfect place to get high quality pictures of the city. It is one of the most recognizable towers in the city due to the greenery grown on top. I highly recommend paying the 4 euro and making the climb to the top!

While all of these things made for a great day trip, the best portion was the sweets! Lucca is known for a sweet bread filled with raisins called Buccellato. I highly, highly suggest stopping at one of the many pasticcerias that pepper the city! Overall, I hope to find more little towns like Lucca to fill my weekend travels.

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