Hostel San Frediano in Lucca, IT (2015-08)

Hostelling International: Ostello San Frediano, Lucca


San Frediano promises to become a prime hostel for both backpackers and families in the coming years — both to visit Lucca and as a base to explore Tuscany.

Location & Getting There

The hostel is located in the vast halls of the former San Frediano monastery right inside the Lucca city walls, and only a few steps from the famed Piazza del Anfiteatro.

Coming from the train station (just outside the wall, on the other side of the old town) as well as the bus terminal (on the other side of town inside the wall) the easiest way to find the hostel is to walk on the wall which has been turned into a wide avenue circling the old town. You’ll see the hostel garden, decked with lounge chairs and bubble lamps from the wall.

Of course I didn’t know that when I arrived from Portovenere, and walked for about 15 minutes from the train station though town, occasionally turning left or right when I hit the end of a road, and keeping my eyes peeled for the occasional city map propped up next to points of interest.

Lucca not being on the map of backpackers the patrons of San Frediano were mostly individuals and elderly couples. It was rather quiet and people lost themselves in the numerous public spaces, lounges, work stations and, of course, the garden.

Rooms & Facilities

The ascent to the rooms could barely be more impressive: the building stems from the 17th century when monasteries were made to show the church’s wealth. Wide staircases, marble, large gold-framed mirrors…

I stayed in a 8-bed dorm. But there would have been easily enough space for 12 or more beds. There was a large locker for everyone, a table with four chairs, and even a small wash basin. The rooms was tidy and the comfortable, 25 Euro per night beds made with dark blue quilted throws. Very classy.

The construction of the building (read: very thick walls) were brilliant in one way — shutting out noise and heat — but inconvenient in another — reliable Wi-Fi is only available in the public spaces.

Each room has their own bathroom in the hallway assigned. At the moment they are the hostel’s only weak spot: they’re a bit tired looking, and it doesn’t help to have only one shower (which is in the place as the toilet, even if separated with a wall) for up to eight people.

However, I got to talk the hostel manager. The house was taken over by a cooperative earlier this year, and they are slowly working on improving the facilities and making full use of the potential the San Frediano has without a doubt.

Food & Drinks

Finally a decent breakfast! The most important meal of the day is included in the price. San Frediano serves a buffet with the usual hot drinks, juice, cornflakes and muesli, bread, pastries, cheese, cold cuts, yogurt, fruit,… Pretty good! Even better if you take your tray and get comfy in the garden.

There is also a small restaurant attached to the hostel. Prices were about the same as outside. However, you currently have to pre-order your meal. I opted for one of the osterie (believe me, that’s the correct plural of osteria) on Piazza San Frediano, the Lucca Drento for genuine, budget, and generous Ligurian cuisine.

The next supermarket is near the old covered market (currently under construction) in Piazza del Carmine. However, there is no guest kitchen at the San Frediano.

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