The city of Lucca, gateway to the Garfagnana region, is situated in a vast, fertile plain in north-west Tuscany, 15 km north-east of Pisa. Lucca, one of Italy’s main art cities, is famous the world over for its splendidly preserved city walls, built between the 15th and the 17th century. Together with Ferrara, Grosseto and Bergamo, Lucca is one of Italy’s 4 provincial capitals to boast a centre surrounded by intact Renaissance-era ramparts. These city walls are recognized as being some of the best preserved in the whole of Europe, thanks to the fact that they were never actually used to defend the town, and in the latter half of the nineteenth century they were transformed into a pleasant promenade that can still be enjoyed today. Like its walls, the historical centre of the city is still very much the same as it would have been centuries ago. There are numerous buildings of considerable historical and architectural importance including many medieval churches. For this reason Lucca has even been called the “city of 100 churches”, but there are many other architectural gems to be enjoyed here too, such as towers, belfries and a number of monumental Renaissance palaces. The immense wealth of the city’s history and architecture is demonstrated by the recent proposal to add its historical centre to the list of Unesco World Heritage Sites. The province of Lucca also boasts the splendid Versilia Riviera, famous the world over for its beaches and nightlife. The nearby town of Viareggio is also well-known for its stunning Carnival where spectacularly decorated floats parade along the Seaside Promenade. Lucca can be easily reached from Lodole Country House in about an hour and a half by taking the A1 motorway as far as Florence and then continuing on the A11 “Firenze-Mare” motorway.