Lucca Summer Festival – Dates, line-up + tips

If you like travelling and going to concerts then the Lucca Summer Festival is the perfect way to combine the two. Great music and the chance to explore one of Tuscany’s hidden gems makes for the perfect city break.

Rainy days, muddy fields and terrible toilets are what springs to mind when I think of a festival. Sorry, I know that’s not very cool but give me an arena any day.

Then I heard about the Lucca Summer Festival. Your favourite band, no queuing, a great seat and pretty much guaranteed good weather. Where’s the catch? Turns out there isn’t one so that’s how I ended up in Lucca for the summer festival in 2019.

Piazza Napoleone being set with seating and stage for the Lucca Music Festival

What is the Lucca Summer Festival?

The Lucca Summer Festival is a series of concerts in Lucca, Italy.

The annual music festival started back in 1988 and is now one of the most important festivals in Italy.

It has played host to some of the biggest stars in the music world over the years (over 260 events so far) including Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Kasabian, Robbie Williams and Florence and the Machine to name just a few.

The festival usually starts at the end of June and runs throughout July. Many of the shows are held in Lucca’s main square, the picturesque Piazza Napoleone (otherwise known as Piazza Grande to locals) with the Ducal Palace as a backdrop.

As you might have guessed the square is named after Napoleon. His sister Elisa Bonaparte Baciochhi ruled the city between 1805-1815 so I guess being able to dedicate a square to your brother was a perk of the job.

The elegant tree-lined square flanked by colourful buildings makes for a charming (and unique) setting for a concert. As one of the main squares in the city, it is still accessible on a show day so you can have a stroll around and enjoy one of the many bars and restaurants before the show.

Piazza Napoleone being set with stage for the Lucca Music Festival

Late afternoon everyone is moved out of the square. The bars and restaurants pack up their outside seating, ticket barriers are installed and the square is transformed into a venue for the night. The statue of Marie-Louise of Bourbon (who ruled Lucca between 1817 and 1824) keeping an eye on proceedings.

The bars and restaurants become the food and drink outlets for ticket holders. Think your average arena concourse but with much nicer ice cream and more reasonably priced refreshments!

The shows start a little later than usual here, allowing the heat of the day to cool down. Well in theory. I managed to time my visit during a heatwave so there was no cooling down. Imagine a gig at the gates of hell (thanks to my friend for that apt description) and you won’t even be close to how hot it was.

Some shows are held by the famous city walls to allow for a bigger capacity. Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour in 2019 was upgraded here to allow more people to attend. This changed after the tickets had gone on sale so bear that in mind if you book tickets for a popular band or singer.

Lucca Summer Festival 2023

Shows are starting to be announced for 2023. So far the confirmed acts are…

29 June – Kiss

1 July – Simply Red

12 July – Sigur Ros

13 July – Placebo

14 July – Norah Jones

16 July – One Republic

17 July – Pat Metheny

21 July – Checco Zalone

22 July – Blur

23 July – The Chemical Brothers

25 July – Jacob Collier – Snarky Puppy

28 July – Robbie Williams

How to buy tickets for the Summer Festival

If you are Lucca Summer Festival tickets you can buy them from, an Italian ticket agency.

Tip: If Italian isn’t your first language you can translate the page (at least the ticket buying bit) using the flag button at the top right hand side of the screen.

Register an account before the tickets go on sale as this will save a lot of time (and panic) on ticket sale day.

It’s also worth brushing up on your Italian beforehand too or at least having a look at how you choose seats on the site in advance.

Lucca Summer Festival Seating Plan

The layout and capacity of the venue depends on the show on where it is held.

The venue inside the city walls, Piazza Napoleone is smaller than the venue used just outside the city walls.

Shows can have seated, standing and mixed configuration setups so check what the layout is before buying tickets.

The show I went to was fully seated in the Piazza Napoleone. For seated shows the blocks run quite far past the stage so it’s best to aim for one of the more central blocks.

There may also be the option to purchase tickets in the grandstand at the back of square or in a small raised area around the monument (said to be one of the best areas to enjoy a show from).

Tip: Do your research before buying tickets to avoid any surprises or disappointment on the night.

Take That on stage at the Lucca Music Festival 2019
Take That at the 2019 Lucca Summer Festival

How to get to Lucca

Lucca is located in Tuscany, around half an hour inland of Italy’s western coast.

Pisa is the nearest airport followed by Florence. From both cities you’ll need to get a train into the city centre then one out to Lucca.

It is very easy to reach via car or train from both Florence and Pisa. However, if you do drive remember the centre (within the city walls) is generally closed off to traffic so you’ll need to park outside.

Train From Florence
Take the train from Florence Santa Maria Novella to Lucca. The journey is around an hour and 20 minutes.

Train From Pisa
Take the train from Pisa Centrale to Lucca. The journey is around 25-30 minutes.

Lucca in a day

If you are going to a Lucca concert then you should definitely make a day of it. Although Lucca deserves a couple of nights you can comfortably see the best of the city in a day.

Getting there in the morning will give you time to walk the historic walls, visit a church (or two) or climb one of the towers for a spectacular view over the city.

You’ll also have time for an aperol spritz and dinner before the show.

Related post | Explore Lucca with my guide of what to see and do in the historic walled city.

The last word

Looking back now, I’m wondering why I didn’t visit the Lucca Summer Festival before. A beautiful city, warm summer evenings and great music. It doesn’t get much better than that.

If you love travelling and concerts then the Lucca music festival should be on your radar.

Maybe I’ll see you there one day?

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17 thoughts on “Lucca Summer Festival – Dates, line-up + tips

    • emmaonline says:

      Hi Matt, Sorry for the delay, just catching up now. There were a few of us trying for tickets when I went for Lucca so wanted to check with them on how they found the ticket agency too. It was back in 2019 we bought out tickets but we didn’t really have any issues. Our biggest problem was trying to figure out the seating plan so we could get the ticket we wanted. Once logged in you should be able to switch the screen to English so that helps with the language barrier.Other than that, we had no issues purchasing and our tickets turned up fine. Hope that helps, Emma

    • emmaonline says:

      Hi Steve, what a good question. I stayed Lucca, thought was less hassle then trying to get back anywhere else. Was in the middle of a heatwave too so being able to fall into a local bar for a cool drink before walking back to our hotel was very handy. Give me a few days and I’ll try and find out about the train situation.I’m sure there must be as lots of people travel in but I’ll check.

  1. Lisa says:

    Lucca is definitely on my list of things to do. Thank you for your very informative post. I’ll definitely be checking out who’s in the line up for 2020.

  2. Karl says:

    Been going a few years to Lucca. This year we coincided our ten day stay to see Elton John at his final farewell Italian gig and then saw Elbow who were the support act for New Order. All three artists, bands were excellent. A treat to see Elton in his last ever Italian gig and NO were just fantastic.

    Like you looking forward to 2020.

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