May 17, 2015, 07:53 AM
Florence or Lucca?
My husband and I will be in Italy for 4-6 weeks arriving early December. We would like to "live" in a base area with the plan of exploring Tuscany mostly by train/bus with the option of an occasional car rental day. We are trying to decide whether to base in Florence or Lucca. We love food and cooking, museums, music, festivals and exploring! We prefer to be able to walk to bakeries, groceries etc when staying at base. While we may occasionally splurge on a meal, we usually prefer smaller, local restaurants/ coffee shops/taverns that we can walk to when traveling this way. We are having a tough time deciding between Florence and Lucca as a base and welcome suggestions.
May 19, 2015, 05:13 PM
Lucca or Florence
You are choosing between two very exciting places and even though they are both big active cities I believe they will offer to different perspectives on living in Italy.
Lucca is active - busy - a great social life and lots of fun quaint shops for enjoying the city. A much more authentic feel and very Italian. You will find small shops for fruit, veggies, cafés, markets as well as an inviting environment for going out for meals and walking / exploring the city life.
Florence is considerably larger than Lucca and definitely draws a much larger transient tourist crowd. Florence offers so much as far culture, art & history. It is definitely a bit more 'busy' compared to Lucca and sometimes the charm is a bit lost. You will definitely find a wealth of little shops, markets and activities.
My opinion is that you may feel like you found a bit more of an authentic experience in Lucca due to its size and more calm atmosphere. But Florence definitely offers you lots of easy travel options, a more active social life and the thrill of a large city during the holidays.