When you’re on your Tuscan holiday, an unmissable part of the fun is the Lucca market experience. The area boasts a wide range of markets selling everything from cheese, to artisanal crafts, delicious fresh produce…you name it! It’s the perfect way to sample all that this incredible city and region have to offer whilst mingling with the locals and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere that makes this part of Italy so special.
Popular Markets in Lucca
Some of the most popular and long-standing markets have become part of the local tapestry, and include the following examples.
Piazza dell'Anfiteatro Market
This unique and stunningly beautiful oval-shaped square in the centre of Lucca was at one time an ancient Roman amphitheatre. Visitors today are charmed by its delightful cafés, restaurants, and shops. The market here features a fabulous mix of stalls selling clothes, jewellery, souvenirs, and lovingly made handicrafts, and is a fun place to explore and search for unique gifts and keepsakes.
Antiques Market in Piazza San Giusto
The Mercato dell’Antiquariato takes place on the third Saturday and Sunday of each month, and is a veritable paradise for antique lovers. It stretches along the streets near the Cattedrale di San Martino, and attracts antique dealers, tourists, and those looking for a good old browse! There is a great atmosphere on market days. Visitors can expect to find an incredible range of items, including antique furniture, vintage clothing, jewellery, books, artwork, ceramics, and curiosities from throughout the ages.
Weekly Market in Piazza San Michele
The Piazza San Michele is a beautiful square in the historic centre of Lucca. It is famed for the gorgeous Church of San Michele in Foro, and its buzzing atmosphere, with tonnes of cafés, shops, and great people watching! The square plays host to a Christmas market each year, as well as a weekly general market on Wednesday mornings. This creates a fabulous festive buzz with stalls selling not just Christmas decorations, but gifts, local artisanal produce, delicious Christmas treats, and other seasonal delights.
Products and Local Specialities
So maybe you’re a sucker for fresh, local produce, a culture vulture, or love browsing for that something special to take back for your nearest and dearest. Either way, the Lucca markets are the perfect place to snap up a high-quality bargain from the locals.
Tuscany is rightly famous for its excellent-quality extra virgin olive oil. Make sure you choose bottles labelled “olio extravergine di oliva” (extra virgin olive oil) produced in the Tuscan countryside – delicious on some crusty, local bread or drizzled on a hearty pasta dish. The other Tuscan liquid delight is of course the local wines, known throughout the world for their incredible quality. Markets are perfect for purchasing some bottles of your favourite Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, or Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. And if you ask nicely, they’re sure to let you try them first!
Pecorino Cheese, made from sheep’s milk, is a delicious staple in Tuscan cuisine. And markets are great for trying different varieties, such as Pecorino Toscano or Pecorino di Pienza. The area also has an incredible range of cured meats made in the area, such as prosciutto, salami, and finocchiona (salami flavored with fennel seeds). You can also pick up some locally made pasta, like thick, hand-rolled pici or tagliatelle, so you can take the taste of Tuscany with you, and if you visit in Autumn, get your hands on some fresh truffles, a delicacy in Lucca.
Lucca also has some great sweet treats that you can find at the produce markets, like Panforte, traditional Sienese fruitcake made with nuts, candied fruits, and spices. – a delicious Christmas treat. Tuscan almond biscotti, or Cantucci, are perfect for dipping in Vin Santo, the region’s sweet dessert wine, or scooping your gelato!
Lucca markets are also great for picking up some excellent quality, local artisanal products, such as its beautiful marbled paper products, including notebooks, stationery, and decorative items. There are also stalls selling handmade pottery, leather goods, and handwoven textiles, showcasing the rich artistic heritage of the region. The local love of culture also lives on in the artists and photographers selling unique paintings and prints capturing the beauty of Lucca.
The Lucca Shopping Experience
Shopping in Lucca is a joyful experience thanks to an eclectic mix of traditional and modern establishments. The city’s historic centre is a pedestrian-friendly zone, so it’s easy and enjoyable to explore the markets and shops without worrying about the traffic. The friendly locals love to chat and invite you to browse, and there’s no standing on ceremony! Shopping here is an experience for all the senses, and never more so than when you’re in the melee of the markets.
So, you can experience an all-round, immersive experience when you’re in a Lucca market. Besides, there’s no better way to get closer to the real Tuscany than by immersing yourself in the food, wine, antiques, general merchandise, and, of course, the incredible atmosphere. What are you waiting for?