Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 10, 2015

Fiat free Piazza Napoleone

The beautiful Piazza Napoleone in the centre of Lucca used to be a car park until 1998 when a smart mayor changed all that. Here it is back in the 1960s. Don’t you love all the little Fiats?

Lucca car park Piazza Napoleone

Nearly 2 centuries earlier Elisa Bacciocchi , who was princess of Lucca at the time, tore down a collection of medieval buildings to make room for a piazza in front of her palace, Palazzo Ducale. This was very unpopular, as one of the buildings was San Paolo church. There was almost a revolt in the town.

She named the piazza after her brother, Napoleon…no photos.

Now Piazza Napoleone is a wonderful open space that hosts a fabulous summer music festival…and other great things. In winter there is an ice skating rink and in summer, a Merry-go-Round. There are also markets at various times of the year.

Piazza Napoleone Lucca

Let’s hope it stays car free always.

In fact it is a good idea not to try driving inside the walls of Lucca. It is for locals only. There are cameras dotted around the town and if your car is photographed a fine will appear in the post for you a while later…an unwelcome arrival months after your holiday.

There are exceptions. If you are staying at a hotel in the centre,  the comune will be informed and it will be OK to park your car.

There are also a couple of car parks inside the walls where you can park after paying a small fee. One is just inside Porta S. Anna, another is near Porta Elisa and there is some parking at Porta Santa Maria. Unless you are certain that the area you drive in is OK, stay outside the walls.

There is lots to see in lovely Lucca…go to “Categories” on the right and click “Lucca” for more.



  1. I had no idea, definitely a change for the better, especially as I have enjoyed many a Summer Concert in the Piazza. The Script were particularly good this year.

    • I can’t imagine the piazza as a car park, what a waste!

  2. Looks like a scene out of a Italian movie

    • I love all the old cars…of course they were new then.

  3. I like open spaces for different things that are not permanent. What a grand idea. 🙂

    • It is a wonderful space which is put to good use.

  4. we’re allowed to drive on the walls of Lucca. It’s because we have a fiat 500, belong to the fiat 500 club and can do that drive on special rallies!

    • Lucky you! We have a Fiat 500 (new one) in Australia.

  5. Those little Fiats are very cute! And there are so many of them too! 😮

    • I love the old Fiats. We have a new one and it is very cute too.

  6. I much prefer the Piazza without Fiats, cute as I think they are. We saw Lenny Kravitz there just a couple weeks ago, and the concert was wonderful.

    • I would much rather see Lenny Kravitz than parked cars in the piazza. Did his pants split?

  7. What a transformation

    • Although it was unpopular at the time Elisa made a beautiful piazza.

  8. Elisa Bonaparte did a lot for both Lucca and Bagni di Lucca (she changed its name from Bagni a Corsena) and Piazza Napoleone, although highly criticized at the time, has become one of Lucca’s best areas.

    • Elisa did lots for Lucca. She organised schools among other things, and left a lasting legacy.

  9. The Fiats are very cute all together, but the piazza is far too pretty to use as a car park. 🙂

    • It is much better as an open space, and it is put to good use.

  10. Lucca is such a pedestrian friendly city and I hope it stays that way…..but the cars are cute!

    • It is great the the centre of Lucca is largely car free.

  11. Gotta love it … and someday I will ask you to take us to your favorite secrets in the city.

    • I will gladly take you on a private tour of Lucca.

  12. Great decision. I cannot even try to imagine Lucca full of these cars now. I did park inside the walls a couple of times but it was in a designated parking area where you pay. Near where we rented the bikes.

    • I also park inside the walls, but I know where to go. I have been fined in Bologna, so I am a bit careful now.

  13. Ps I would also love a private tour

    • That can be arranged.

      • Thank you

  14. i remember this place as a car park… and later without, but the best i ve seen there was Elton John ….only with his piano , unforgettable !

    • It is much better without cars. I have not been to the music festival…one day.

  15. Reminds me of that scene from Cinema Paradiso…. You know the one!

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