Both parking and driving within the city walls of Lucca are severely limited.
There are three types of parking spaces, denoted by the color of paint on the pavement:
- Blue spaces. This is what you want to find. You can park in any blue spaces by paying an hourly fee (more about this later)
- Yellow spaces. Avoid these. They are reserved for residents with permits.
- White spaces. There have been rumors of sightings of these spaces within the walls, but I don’t think I have ever seen one. These spaces are free and available to anyone.
Most importantly, the majority of streets within Lucca are restricted for use only by drivers with permits. These are known as ZTL zones. DO NOT ENTER! You will be photographed and heavily fined. If you’re renting your car, the ticket will be sent to your rental company and you won’t even know about it until months later.
If you lucky enough to find a blue space you will then need to pay the parking meter, located nearby. Try to have coins available—some of these meter accept credit cards, but all will take coins.
Once you pay for the parking, a slip of paper will be printed. You must then place it visibly in your front window:
A word about this payment: You pay by the hour, usually 1 to 1.5 Euros/hour. Signs will indicate which hours you need to pay. Often the time will be from 8 AM to 8 PM. That means that you do not have to pay for overnight sparking after 8 PM.
So, for example, if you arrive at the space a 7 PM and pay for 3 hours of parking, you will have paid for the first hour from 7 to 8 PM and also for the 2 hours beginning at 8 AM, covering you until 10 AM.
If you enter from Porta San Pietro, this is what the entry looks like. Note the solar powered parking meter in the foreground. If none of those spaces are available, and you are very lucky, you can enter the gate, then turn right. You will be following some one-way streets leading you to Corso Garibaldi. There are more blue spaces along that street, but they are always in high demand.
Paid Parking Lots: Check this website for detailed information about paid parking options.
Probably the most reliable option is the underground car park named Parking Mazzini, with 365 spaces available for € 1 per hour. You take a ticket on entry and pay when you leave, using one of the automatic machines. Then you use that receipt to exit. You can reach this lot by entering the Wall using Porta Elisa, on the east side of the city. Once you enter the Wall, take the first right turn and go about ¼ mile to the entrance of the lot on the left.
Thomas England retired to Lucca in 2017 following a long career as a freelance photographer for top-level magazines, books and corporations. He continues to photograph, primarily in Italy. See his images here (photo credit: Cher Sandmire).