1. Lucca: 3-Hour Bikes & Bites Foodie Adventure like a Local
Bikes in Lucca are a must. Locals love them as they’re the best and easiest way to move around the city’s narrow streets. There is a wonderfully laid-back attitude to cyclists here, so your journey will sure to be a relaxing and memorable one. You will begin with an action-packed ride around the city walls, stopping to explore hidden corners and to learn more about one of Italy’s most prosperous regions. Pass by little squares with magnificent ancient church facades (San Frediano is the best) and noble palaces dating back to the Renaissance. Lofty medieval towers still feature prominently here; one of the most famous landmarks in Lucca is the beautiful Guinigi Tower with its ancient holm oak trees sprouting curiously over the top. Pass by this one and many more with plenty of opportunities for Instagram-friendly stops along the way. Then, it’s time for your first foodie adventure and you will waste no time jumping straight into the good stuff. Artisan gelato to be precise. With a multitude of flavors to choose from, including many seasonal fruit varieties, you will find out why this classic Italian frozen dessert has become so ingrained into the national consciousness. Head back to your bikes for another gentle amble through the streets towards a series of charming delicatessens, stocked with the finest ingredients from the surrounding Tuscan countryside. Here, you will meet local gourmands and taste some of the best pecorino cheese from the Garfagnana Mountains, along with Mondiola salami and crunchy bruschetta. Buonissimi. One of Lucca’s most famous dishes is farro soup, made with the largely unheard of and highly underrated farro grain, which is grown locally amid the rolling, fertile hillscapes. Visit a local deli that sells the ingredients to make this classic dish, where your insider will let you in on the secrets to making a top-notch version. Next on your culinary journey will be two of Italy’s greatest culinary exports: extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Taste delicious local varieties alongside some traditional local snacks and try to work out which is your favorite. Don’t forget to take a bottle or two home with you. Your last stop will be one of the fabulous bars embedded within the city walls. Here, enjoy a glass of local Sangiovese wine or a typical Italian cocktail (with snacks of course, always with snacks). Ask your in the know local guide about the best dinner options for the evening ahead before you merrily cycle your way back to the train station to complete your foodie circuit of Lucca.