Food & Wine of Lucca
Food & Wine of Lucca

Lucca Food and Wine Guide

Located in Tuscany – a region of Italy that is world-renowned for its food and wine – Lucca is a relatively undiscovered culinary gem. Characterized by its rich history and rooted in rustic cooking traditions, Lucca’s cuisine consists of locally sourced ingredients such as vegetables, herbs, and meat, many of which come from the Garfagnana region.

Lucca’s food is similar to that of the rest of Tuscany in that it is rustic, simple, and flavorful. It differs from other parts of Tuscany in that its ingredients are slightly elevated. This can be traced back to the early days of the city, when the area was financially affluent due to its position in the silk trade.

This quality has reverberated throughout history via one of the city’s most iconic dishes – tordelli lucchesi, a distinctly yellow-colored stuffed pasta. At the time of the recipe’s inception eggs were an expensive ingredient, and as a result, poorer areas would produce pasta that was light in color. However, in Lucca the pasta was vibrantly yellow due to the eggs used to make it. Today that dish is still a must-have in Lucca and is just one of the many high-quality dishes travelers can expect to enjoy when visiting.

Another key ingredient of Lucca’s cuisine that is sourced from the surrounding area is the white truffle. This rare tuber can be found in wooded areas of the province of Lucca and is one of the ingredients that embodies Lucca’s elevated cuisine.

With centuries-old traditions and revered ingredients, Lucca’s cuisine features the best of Tuscany and beyond.


When in Lucca, expect to find a variety of traditional Tuscan staple appetizers such as prosciutto served with melon and finocchiona (fennel salami), but also expect to see Tuscan dishes that have a distinct local flair, such as crostini topped with baccalà, or salt cod. One locally produced cured meat is biroldo, a sliced and fried blood sausage made with less noble cuts of pork such as the lungs and tongue.

Appetizers are often served with the local bread, pane lucchese, which, as opposed to Tuscan bread, is salted.
A local alternative to bread is called crisciolette. The dish consists of a batter made from wheat flour, corn flour, millet flour, salt, and water. The batter is pan-fried then garnished with pancetta or stuffed with cheese.


A must-have during the pasta course in Lucca is the traditional stuffed pasta dish tordelli lucchesi. This stuffed pasta made from water, eggs, and flour is known for its unique yellow color and distinct rounded shape. In Lucca, the pasta is typically stuffed with meat (veal and/or pork or sausage), stale bread, chard, egg, black pepper, and nutmeg. Tordelli lucchesi are usually served with a hearty ragù or tomato sauce. During the hunting season, it is also possible to find a version stuffed with wild boar meat.
Other pasta dishes to try in Lucca are tortellini in brodo (tortellini in broth) and tagliolini al burro fuso (tagliolini with butter and sage.)

Outside of pasta, travelers can enjoy variations of risotto and the deliciously rich dish matuffi – a layered dish made with polenta and ragù and topped with sausage and mushrooms.

Soups are also popular in Lucca. The most traditional is zuppa di farro, a thick soup made of farro (a grain similar to barley), beans, seasonal vegetables, and occasionally meat such as roasted goat. This delicious, hearty local recipe is typically topped with local olive oil and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and is served alongside crusty bread.

Another popular soup in Lucca is Garmugia soup. This recipe, which dates to the sixteenth century, is made with artichokes, asparagus, broad beans, and peas. This recipe follows the peasant-style cooking tradition of Tuscany. Minestrone, a vegetable soup popular throughout Italy, is also made peasant-style, utilizing what is available and in-season.


A must-try second course dish in Lucca is the traditional version of baccalà, or salt cod, that must be served with lots of local olive oil and a generous sprinkling of black pepper.

Other traditional second courses in Lucca are roasted pork with herbs, roasted rabbit with olives, sausage and beans, rovelline lucchesi (sliced veal with tomato sauce and capers), and pig’s feet with beans.

And, of course, no Tuscan meal would be complete without a delicious bistecca alla fiorentina – Florentine steak! Originating from Florence, this Tuscan tradition is made from local Chianina cattle and is prepared simply with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.


Lucca is known for its incredible extra virgin olive oil. Known as olio di oliva delle Colline lucchesi, it is one of the world’s best olive oils and makes every single dish in Lucca something special.
Alongside meals in Lucca, expect to enjoy traditional crusty bread that, as mentioned above, is made with salt, contrary to Tuscan tradition.

Other sides include bean dishes that are doused in local olive oil.


Tuscany’s most popular street food is, without a doubt, farinata – a flatbread made simply with chickpea flour and olive oil. Found throughout the Tuscan region, this is the perfect snack to enjoy on-the-go while sightseeing.


When it comes time for something sweet, there are a variety of delicious dishes to choose from in Lucca.
Some of the most traditional desserts are torta con becchi – a pie made with a crust that features peaks like that of a bird’s beak, buccellato – a traditional sweet bread made with raisins, torta di neccio – a chestnut flour cake, and pasimata – a traditional Easter bread that features aniseed.

During Carnival, the locals enjoy cenci, or strips of fried dough topped with powdered sugar.

And, as always in Italy, you can always opt for a visit to a world class gelateria for incredible local gelato.


While food may be what Lucca is most famous for, its wine production has been a part of the city’s history for centuries. Wines in the Lucca area are known for being unique blends of local grapes. The area’s mild climate and geography – mountainous and near the sea – are ideal for creating DOC wines that are strong in flavor and intense in aroma.

The most famous varieties are Colline Lucchesi, or the “The Lucca Hills” wines. They are available in both white and red versions. For the white version, Trebbiano, Greco, Vermentino, and Malvasia grapes are used. The red contains Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, and Colorino grapes.

Another DOC wine made in the province of Lucca is Montecarlo rosso, which is primarily made with Sangiovese grapes. This red wine is known for its ruby red color and dry taste. The wine pairs well with Tuscan specialties such as pasta e ceci (pasta and chickpeas).

Lucca’s cuisine largely embodies the peasant cooking tradition that is characteristic of the Tuscany region. Locally-sourced vegetables are combined with elevated ingredients, such as truffle, and paired with the renowned local wines to create unforgettable meals in the heart of this Renaissance city.