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Visit to Lucca or Cortona

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Visit to Lucca or Cortona

We are staying in Murlo for a week and wanted to visit Lucca and Cortona as day trips. We have been told that the trip one way is about 3 hours to Lucca and perhaps slightly less to Cortona. Someone said the drive to Lucca and what you can see or do there is not worth the travel time. So, if you had to choose between Lucca or Cortona, does anyone have an opinion.

Joyce

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Lucca
Lucca
Province of Lucca, Italy
Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Austin, Texas
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1. Re: Visit to Lucca or Cortona

That's a tough call as they are quite different. We liked both towns a lot, did Lucca as a day trip and spent a few days in Cortona. I think the trip to Cortona would only be about 1 1/2 hours drive. Use viamichelin.com for directions and estimated tolls if you will be on the autostrada at all.

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Lucca
Lucca
Province of Lucca, Italy
Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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2. Re: Visit to Lucca or Cortona

Can we assume that Siena, Montalcino, Pienza and Montepulciano are already on your list? If not they are much closer than Cortona and Lucca and have more to offer, in my opinion.

Lucca is 2 hours drive from Murlo and Cortona an hour and a half (with no hold ups). They are so different that it is hard to compare them. My choice would be based on which of the other places I mention you are planning to see. If you were already seeing hilltop towns such as Montalcino and Montepulciano, then Lucca would make a good contrast, but it would be a long day, it is true.

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Siena
Siena
Province of Siena, Italy
Montalcino
Montalcino
Province of Siena, Italy
Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
Montepulciano
Montepulciano
Province of Siena, Italy
Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Lucca
Lucca
Province of Lucca, Italy
Firenze
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3. Re: Visit to Lucca or Cortona

I would be inclined to vote for Lucca. You see I'm destination expert for Cortona so maybe I should vote for it, but, while it's a WONDERFUL town, I think it's best as a home base and place to really hang out in. In terms of actual things to SEE, specifically, there is not much other than the view and the great food, which take TIME to take in.

Lucca is big and also takes time to discover - i've been going on various single day trips to get to learn it best. It has a lot of things to see like churches (They say it has 100 churches) as well as a contemporary art gallery that is quite good quality.

I don't know when you're going to be here but I usually post the latest lucca contemporary news on my blog; right now it's something on minimalist art:

…intoscana.it/allthingstuscany/…

In the summer there is an important music festival and also in July there's the Cartasia festival which is paper-based installation art in all the public spaces. It's quite a LIVE city and has a lot to offer within its walls (and also above the walls! go for a bike ride!).

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Lucca
Lucca
Province of Lucca, Italy
Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Italia
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4. Re: Visit to Lucca or Cortona

...I would love beeing in Lucca, even if it is far from your departure.. It's just lovely, but one day trip I don't think it would be enough..

great city, much history ....as much to see..

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Lucca
Lucca
Province of Lucca, Italy
UK
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5. Re: Visit to Lucca or Cortona

Some years ago we visited the village of Murlo to have lunch with English friends who had a house nearby. The village is set amidst the most spectacular countryside, within easy driving distance of some of the areas most initeresting towns and cities. As much as I love Lucca I have to ask where else do you plan to visit during your week? Have you stayed in the region before? Are you likely to return in the near future? Yes, Lucca and Cortona are worth a visit but I would not give up a full day of my week when there is so much else to see closer by.

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Lucca
Lucca
Province of Lucca, Italy
Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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6. Re: Visit to Lucca or Cortona

That is exactly what I was trying to say Joanna and agree totally with you.

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7. Re: Visit to Lucca or Cortona

I would definitely prefer to visit and spend more time in Lucca, but for a short visit, day-trip, I would choose Cortona.

But quit worrying about it - you will not go wrong either way!

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Lucca
Lucca
Province of Lucca, Italy
Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
San Francisco...
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8. Re: Visit to Lucca or Cortona

Of all the hilltowns we've visited Cortona, while nice, was the most overrated. I guess it's popularity is due to the books. Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano, and San Gimignano are much more interesting. However...for a day trip Lucca will more than give you your moneys worth. Lots to see, lots of shops, lots of piazzas, good restaurants, and last but not least those amazing walls...which will take you back in history just by looking at them. Go see Lucca...

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Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Montalcino
Montalcino
Province of Siena, Italy
Pienza
Pienza
Province of Siena, Italy
Montepulciano
Montepulciano
Province of Siena, Italy
San Gimignano
San Gimignano
Province of Siena, Italy
Lucca
Lucca
Province of Lucca, Italy
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9. Re: Visit to Lucca or Cortona

I’ve been to both cities and while Lucca’s really great and has a lot of stores, I totally fell in love with Cortona. This could also be due to the fact that we were there for four days and stayed in a really fabulous villa, (Villa Petrischio in case you want to check it out). We ate really great food and there were tons of local Tuscan dishes at the restaurant there. I think it was called the Terrazza… There’s great wine to be tasted in and around Cortona if you’re into that…we tried some at the Villa because they also had their own winery but during the day we walked around the town and toured around the hills and countryside…I definitely vote for Cortona!

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Lucca
Lucca
Province of Lucca, Italy
Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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10. Re: Visit to Lucca or Cortona

I found Cortona a bit ho-hum, but we were there just for the day, and it was a very hot day at that. I think maybe "Under the Tuscan Sun" oversold it a bit. There are many other towns in Tuscany, including those mentioned by peggypatch, that I like a lot better. One thing that was really worth seeing in Cortona was the municipal museum, which has some Etruscan artifacts, including a very beautiful candelabra.

We spent three days in Lucca once, and I like that city a lot. It's more of a lived-in city, not just a tourist destination, although it has several churches that are worth a visit, and a very nice park atop the massive city wall. It's just a pleasant little city.

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Cortona
Cortona
Province of Arezzo, Italy
Lucca
Lucca
Province of Lucca, Italy
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