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Living a Small town Lifestyle in Lucca, ITALY

Although this city as a whole contains about 84,000 inhabitants, the old walled city, by far the most interesting part of town, has a population of only 7,500. Lucca, Italy is a charming little town in Tuscany that has become a popular spot in recent years. Lucca's location in Tuscany about 50 miles west of Florence and 15 miles from Pisa is ideal. But what makes this town truly exceptional is its stunning layout, historic preservation as a walled city with large interior spaces, and outstanding livability. Founded originally by the Romans, some of its ancient walls and buildings stem from that era. For example the former roman arena is now a beautiful piazza surrounded by ochre-colored apartments.

Historically, Lucca was once of the most powerful city-states in Italy. It became immensely wealthy due to its silk industry. During medieval times many churches were constructed, some of which have gothic interiors such as the famous Duomo of San Martin. In 1805 Napoleon conquered Lucca. His sister, Elisa, lived here, and made significant changes to Lucca. Those included clearing many buildings to make room for grander buildings and expansive piazzas. Many baroque churches and basilicas are in town. The town features charming walks around the outer walls (in turn  surrounded by greenswards), narrow streets opening up into gracious piazzas, along with many high end shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Where to Retire in Lucca and Home Prices

Living within the 3 miles of the walled city is the place to be. There you can walk or ride your bike and rely on public transportation for occasional use within the larger town. Home prices are expensive with a  range of choices from studio apartments to expansive villas complete with wales in gardens. Real estate listings in 2010 ranged from about 200,000 euros to almost 1 million. Rentals are available for less than 1000 euros/month.

What is special about Lucca

One of the most beautiful and livable walled towns in Europe. Good location near Florence and the coast. Birthplace of composers Puccini (La Boheme), and Luigi Boccherini. One of the finest examples of IEuropean towns with intact Renaissance walls.

What is not special about Lucca

Expensive. Vigorous laws concerning historic preservation. Americans would find it difficult to establish permanent residency here.

Climate and Physical Environment

Lucca enjoys a Mediterranean climate along the coast. Winters can get chilly but will be much milder than in northern Europe. Lucca is over 100 miles north of Rome.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

As the birthplace of one of the kings of opera, Puccini, as well as the composer Boccherini, Lucca enjoys a rich cultural scene with frequent concerts in its lovely theater and many churches. There is an annual Puccini Festival as well as the Lucca Summer Festival. In past years entertainers including Eric Clapton, Placebo, Massive Attack, Roger Waters, Tracy Chapman and Santana have played here on the Piazza Napoleone. any artists live here and galleries abound. No one need go hungry in Lucca- the town is filled with charming cafes, bakeries, and restaurants.

Crime

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Medical facilities

Lucca has a hospital where one can enjoy italy's high quality of healthcare. Non- citizens would be wise to investigate health insurance if their home countries do not cover them in Italy.

Transportation

Parking a car within the walled city can be a hassle. Lucca has excellent public transportation with frequent connections to the rest of europe. The Florence airport is about 50 miles.

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City of Lucca

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