Patrick Benard will be presenting a weekly review of all things “outside the walls”, for those Luchese who rarely venture beyond the portas. These will be personal appreciations, suggestions, and rants covering an area of approximately 20Kms from the centro storico of Lucca.
When choosing a new home, there are few considerations more important than the local access to airports. If you want friends and family to visit, you will have to offer them convenient and affordable flights. In this regard, Lucca is very well served. It sits almost exactly three hours from Rome and Milan’s international airports offering direct flights to and from the world. It also has two smaller international airports (Pisa & Florence), reachable in 45 minutes and serving hundreds of destinations.
My focus today will be Pisa’s Galileo Galilei airport (PSA). It’s the airport through which we first visited Lucca (some 12 years ago), and the airport best connected by train and bus for the Lucca area. In fact, for less than 3 euros, you can take a city (Vaibus) bus straight from the airport to the historical center of Lucca. The train is also very convenient with regular service through Pisa to Lucca’s central station. Be aware that service is not offered 24 hours a day and if your airline has no consideration for you (Ryanair), they may schedule flights outside of airport service hours that force you to choose a taxi option back to Lucca. Your 49 euro flights may have a 80 euro cab ride attached to it.
PSA (as of feb 2022) offers flights to 77 destinations in 27 countries as well as 11 domestic destinations. These numbers were higher in the recent past and one hopes they will return to their former glory.
Beyond public transport, Pisa’s airport makes it easy and convenient to walk out its doors to the rental car area and be on the road within 30 minutes. Car rentals at airports are by far the cheapest option and it can pay to rent from the airport in Pisa, even if a flight isn’t in the cards. The competitive environment of car rental companies have made it possible to rent long-term, for as little as 9 euros a day (outside of high season). Just be sure to pick up and drop off at the same location to avoid any fees.
When your visitors do come, you will always find ample and affordable parking when you pick up your guests. As an added bonus (well sometimes a frustration) all roads in Pisa seem to require a drive by the leaning tower and its Piazza dei Miracoli. It’s a great opportunity to tick it off the list.
Pisa’s airport is small, convenient and in my experience, rather well run. It should be added to the + column when deciding where your next move will take you
Upon arriving in PSA, we always ceremoniously stop at the bar, conveniently located outside the arrivals area. Bad airport coffee in Italy is still better than coffee almost anywhere else, so kick off your Italian journey fully caffeinated and make your way to Lucca e fate ammodo.
by Patrick Benard (He and his wife, Erin, live half their lives in Lucca outside the walls)