Jagged walls encircle the city, designed by Leonardo di Vinci, with six grand gates granting entrance to the wonders of this ancient city. Romanesque architecture is ubiquitous, dating back to the Middle Ages and imposes a sense of time travel. Washed in varying yellow shades, the city reflects its original Renaissance aesthetic, well preserving its rich heritage. Known as the city of 101 churches, 50 of which are still in use today, Lucca is home to the oldest crucifix in Europe.
The Grand Universe Lucca effortlessly retains the historical features of the town with Roman ruins and artefacts, excavated and kept in the Eterno Wine Cellar. Situated at the Centre of Lucca, within the great medieval walls of the city, the Grand Universe acts as the focal point for visitors all around the world. Its name Grand Universe beautifully assimilates the significance of this hotel.
Having adopted the emblem of the city, the Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection has The Labyrinth as its logo. The Chartres-type design is found in the Cathedral of San Maritino, carved vertically into a pillar within the porch at the western end of the entrance, representing the power of love fabled to lead one out of the maze of pain and hardship.
As is true for all Autograph Collection Marriott hotels, there is a signature mark which differentiates them from one another. For the Grand Universe Lucca, this is its ‘Prelude of Existence’ experience, which gives guests the chance to create tailored music compositions. This romantic gesture is an ode of love, perfect when gifted to loved ones.
In correspondence with its signature mark, there is a magnificent grand piano in the Symphony lounge. It draws inspiration from the musical heritage of the city — The birthplace of numerous world-class composers such as Giacomo Puccini (La Bohème composer) and Luigi Boccherini.
The Grand Universe Lucca has an alluring ambience, with interiors showcasing a blend of traditional neo-classical beauty and modern conventions. There are neutral stone-washed walls and contemporary decor. This boutique hotel extends a harmonious, homely feel, perfectly balancing openness and intimacy.
Radiating the spirit of Lucca, the traditional stone walls are enhanced by soaring barrel-vaulted ceilings that wind up the stairways to the Sommità Martin Orsyn Champagne bar. This rooftop bar overlooks the beautiful scenery of the city, with vast views of the Apuan mountains behind the Piazza del Giglio square in front of the famous Opera Theater, displaying luxury Tuscan conviviality.
Offering timeless elegance, the 55 rooms are named to further reflect the musical heritage, a core pillar of their DNA, with a variety of room sizes. From the snug, single ‘Piccolo’ room for solo and business travellers to the lavish (maisonette-style) Maestro suite, finished with a lounge and stunning city view, there’s an option for all. The neutral tones and decor of the rooms are complemented by the accents of rich velvet ochre, teal and burgundy furniture creating a truly chic appearance.
The annual Lucca Summer Festival, which attracts an international audience with past live performances from Justin Bieber, John Legend and Tracy Chapman, takes place in the elegant Sixteenth-Century palazzo — Piazza Napoleone. If this piques your interest, and you are visiting during this period, the Vivace room is ideal for you. With its elevated ceilings, floor-length curtains and oversized windows, it provides guests with unobstructed views of the festival from the comfort of their room.
The food offered at the Grand Universe Lucca is marvellous. Serving authentic Italian cuisine with local Tuscan delicacies on their seasonal menus, there is creamy, violet gnocchi, and rich, velvety tiramisu. The Legacy restaurant and Bistro Wine Bar are contemporary and refined with warm lights, subtle art deco features and furnishing that gives the traditional stone room a modern finish.
Immersing yourself in the Tuscan slow pace of life is easily done with friendly locals, peaceful streets and plenty of activities. Discover the tales of the city with a private guided tour by Luccan local, Gabriele Calabrese, locating Roman inscriptions and visiting key landmarks. Look out over the rooftops and admire the city at the Guinigi Tower, which dates to the 1300s and has a distinct garden tree top. Take a 30-minute bike ride or long stroll around the 4km city walls and appreciate the glorious views, with the mountainous landscape on one side and the city on the other.
Once a Roman Amphitheatre, the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro — the oldest ‘square’ in Lucca — is found in the middle of the city. Filled with shops, eateries and residential areas, this oval plaza is bustling and full of contemporary art and history. Well known for its textile industry, Lucca was once the end of the silk route and has a rich history of silk merchants that distributed all around Europe. There is an abundance of museums where you can learn more about this celebrated history.
Enjoy different flavours of gelato and taste the Buccellato Lucchese, a sweet, Sultana-filled cake, typical of Lucca. The ancient saying goes… “Whoever comes to Lucca and doesn’t eat Buccellato, it is as if he had never been there!”
The Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection is the only branded hotel in Lucca and delivers its promise of providing a captivating setting for your getaway, whether it’s a short city break or a longer family holiday. At the foot of the Apuan Alps, Lucca presents nature, history, architecture and much more.
The countryside of Tuscany is an exceedingly popular tourist destination yet cities such as Lucca are just as charming. As the capital of the province of Lucca, this ideally located low-profile city is close to the Versilia coast and 30 minutes from the seaside town of Forte dei Marmi. Whilst in Lucca you can also get trains to Rome, Florence, and Pisa if you would like to explore more of what Central Italy has to offer.
Pisa International and Florence airport are the nearest to Lucca, accessible via car and public transport. Vueling airlines provide affordable, comfortable flights from the UK.
Vueling has 27 direct routes from the UK covering 18 destinations and 3 countries. The London Gatwick – Florence route currently has 14 weekly frequencies with returns from £52.99. See vueling.com for more details.
Piazza del Giglio, 1, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy