Wherever we travel, one of the things that we always try to do is go to a location that provides wonderful views from above the city. Whether climbing to the top of a bell tower, going to the observation deck of a skyscraper, or climbing to the top of a hill that overlooks the city, the views are always amazing. There is something that is truly special about looking over the historic rooftops of the city’s buildings and getting a sense for the narrow streets. Obviously we enjoy getting up close and personal with the architecture of a city, but taking it all in at once has its own reward. Do you look for locations that overlook a city when you travel?
During our trip to Tuscany, Italy, one of the places that we visited was Lucca. It was a day trip from Florence that took us to both Lucca and Pisa. Lucca itself is a wonderful little city with beautiful and historic architecture. Located in the heart of the city is the Torre Guinigi (Guinigi Tower), which is one of the few tower houses that were built in Lucca. If you plan a visit to Lucca, the Torre Guinigi should not be missed with its oak trees on the roof and amazing views.
Built in the late 1300’s by the Guinigi family, who were wealthy merchants in the area, the tower certainly stands out amongst the other buildings in Lucca. The climb up the 235 stairs to the top of the 125 foot tower is certainly worth it as you are rewarded with amazing views of the historic city. If the views of the city weren’t enough, the roof garden with its oak trees for shade are equally fascinating. One can imagine the wealthy Guinigi family sitting on the rooftop to escape the heat of city below with its warm breezes and wonderful shade trees.
As you look down at the rooftops from the Torre Guinigi, you get a true sense of the narrow, winding streets of the city. The Lucca Cathedral, or Cathedral of Saint Martin, clearly dominates the cityscape. The color variations of the church tower are even more dramatic when viewed from the Guinigi Tower. The cathedral, which dates back to 1070, is also something that should not be missed when visiting Lucca.
There is a small fee in order to go to the top of the Torre Guinigi, but it is certainly worth the nominal price. We visited during the off-season, so there were no other tourists with us as we went to the roof to enjoy the views of the city and the Tuscan countryside. Unfortunately it was an overcast day, but that didn’t diminish how beautiful the scenery was from the rooftop.