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One of Tuscany’s most charming — but overlooked — towns, Lucca is located conveniently close to Pisa’s airport, making it a great place to start or wrap up your Italian sojourn. Behind the town's iconic walls, a quintessentially romantic picture unfolds — one where cobblestone streets host traditional bars and afternoon aperitifs are enjoyed without hurry. Though some consider Lucca just a stopover on your way to or from Florence, we think there’s more than enough allure to merit an overnight stay. Below, we've rounded up the best hotels the city has to offer, whether you prefer to stay within the walls or outside of them, in a medieval tower or a gorgeously renovated country house.
Best Overall: Palazzo Dipinto
Palazzo Dipinto is Lucca's first design-driven property — and it's arguably the best stay in town. Despite having bones that date back to the 13th century, the hotel is modern, so you won't find old-world touches typical of other Italian guesthouses. The hotel looks out onto a piazza in Lucca’s historic center, and it’s just a short walk from the town’s main shopping streets, bars, and restaurants. Rooms are refined, sleek, and streamlined, done in cafe au lait and latte tones (appropriate for a country that runs on coffee), with beautiful hardwood floors and, in the master room, handsome exposed-beam ceilings. Each has free Wi-Fi, LCD TVs, USB outlets, and air-conditioning, so guests have all the essentials and comforts they need. Common areas throughout are contemporarily designed with low-slung modern furniture and you'll also find a stylish bar and lovely winter garden — a great spot to enjoy breakfast or an afternoon digestif.
Best Budget: Hotel Stipino
This stay was given a modern facelift just a few years ago, and as a result, it offers surprisingly stylish rooms and excellent value for those making their way through often-pricey Tuscany. The comfortable, clean, simply decorated guestrooms all have air-conditioning — a must for hot summers — free Wi-Fi, and an LCD TV for chilling out at the end of the day. The only downside is that it’s a short walk outside Lucca’s ancient city walls — if you were set on staying within them in the first place — but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better budget hotel, especially within them. We love that the hotel offers bicycles for guests to rent, which is a delightful way to explore the town, as well as free private parking, so those with cars can rest easy. Breakfast isn’t included, but at just five euros, getting fueled up for the day ahead isn’t going to break the bank.
Best for Families: Alla Corte Degli Angeli
Located in the historic center of Lucca proper, Alla Corte Degli Angeli lives up to its name in terms of having a divine stay while in Tuscany. Though this boutique is nestled in a quieter part of the city center, it’s within a five-minute walk of great bars and restaurants, as well as the rest of Lucca’s top sights. Rooms are painted with frescoes (some even on the ceiling) lending a very Italian air to the decor, but they're also quite modern in terms of technology, with iPod docking stations and Sky TV. Families are particularly well cared for here, with the option to book two-bedroom suites (two single beds, one double) or triple rooms (one single bed, one double bed). Breakfast — a plentiful Italian spread — is included for each guest, which helps save money if you’re coming with a few tots in tow. Just know that parking can be a little complicated here, due to the narrow streets and limited-traffic zones, so if you’re arriving by rental car, approach parking with some patience.
Best Boutique: Palazzo Busdraghi
This charming, centrally located hotel in Lucca’s centro storico may have been recently renovated, but it hasn’t lost any of its historic charm or period details. The property's eight rooms are each serene (if a bit on the small side), with traditional furnishings in calming cream and golden brown tones, and free Wi-Fi and air conditioning. Make note that the in-room showers are small, but that’s not entirely unexpected in Italy. Guests can enjoy the breakfast spread in the mornings, which has vegan and gluten-free options available upon request. Our recommendation for getting in? Park outside the town’s walls — traffic is limited in the historic center — and then either take a taxi or walk into the center. Just note that it’s located on the main street of the town center, so it can get a bit noisy at night. If your idea of a relaxing day involves a massage, just ask — the hotel will be happy to book one for you.
Best for Romance: Villa Casanova Lucca
Located a 10-minute drive from town, 16th-century Villa Casanova Lucca is a five-star hotel that knows how to deliver a relaxing Italian stay. In a previous life, it was a farmhouse, but now, it’s a gorgeously renovated luxury property that attracts wedding parties and honeymooners. Views from the suites — all rooms here are suites — are of the surrounding valley and Castello Nozzano in Lucca proper, and they're second to none. Accommodations are beautifully appointed, with rolltop baths and traditional but timeless furnishings; the four-poster beds with carved spindles are a real treat. In the mornings, hotel owners lay out a complimentary continental spread and excellent coffee to get your day going. Just note that there aren't a lot of transit options around, so it's best to rent a car for the duration of your trip.
Best for Nightlife: San Luca Palace Hotel
One of Lucca’s most attractive hotels also happens to be just a five-minute-or-fewer walk from the historic center’s charming bars and restaurants. But even more conveniently, the hotel bar also makes great Aperol spritzes — ideal for preempting your night out. Service here is incredible, with management working to ensure that guests’ needs are met and expectations surpassed. The four-star hotel has 26 rooms, which are extremely spacious by Italian standards and spotlessly clean. Don’t expect them to have stylish modern furnishings, though: here, it’s all about old-fashioned luxury, like damask headboards and heavy curtains. Each room also comes with robes and slippers, a minibar, free internet access, and air-conditioning, which is critical in summer.
Best for Luxury: No.15 Santori Luxury Home
Bridging the divide between luxe Italian decor and au courant aesthetics, No.15 Santori Luxury Home delights guests with impeccable service, unique architecture, and sumptuous common areas. The property's six spacious rooms are spread between a 12th-century tower and the old Santori family home, which dates back to the 15th century. Those in the tower feature vaulted exposed brick walls and ceilings, which strikingly contrast with gilded frames, modern walk-in showers, and luxe bed linens. If you want to splash out, the Junior Luxury Suite clocks in at more than 600 square feet — and it even comes with an in-room exercise bike. Guests wanting to learn more about Tuscan cuisine can take cooking classes on site, while those wanting to relax can arrange for a massage treatment. Outside the hotel, top restaurants, bars, bakeries, and gelaterias are all within a four-minute walk.
Best for Business: Hotel Ilaria
Located within Lucca’s walls, Hotel Ilaria is a great place for business travelers. The property is well-designed with clean rooms decked out in modern furnishings and tranquil colors, as well as tea and coffee facilities, a mini bar, and a safe for storing valuables and important documents. It also offers a business center and meeting rooms — ideal for those arranging get-togethers with clients. Start the day with a wonderful breakfast spread (including hot items like bacon and scrambled eggs alongside pastries and smoked salmon) on the terrace overlooking gardens, and end it with the hotel’s evening prosecco hour, or in the town’s charming bars and restaurants that are just a few blocks away from the property. Guests are welcome to park their cars on-site, but the hotel also offers free bike rentals for those without a set of motorized wheels.
Best Secluded: Locanda al Colle
Those who love art and are ready to get away from it all will be fans of this charming guesthouse, which is about a 25-minute drive from Lucca proper, in an idyllic Tuscan olive grove. Inside this former farmhouse, art takes center stage. Each of the 12 rooms displays gorgeous Art Deco, mid-century, and Cubist works instead of a TV. The property also offers a heated outdoor swimming pool from April to October (you can ask to have a massage arranged poolside, should you wish), and guests who stay from May to October automatically get a gazebo reservation at nearby Bagno Cavallone beach club. The hotel offers fantastic cooking classes — Italian, of course — on Tuesday afternoons, so make sure to book in advance.