I’ve been pretty happy with shopping in Lucca, Italy. If I want certain vegetables, I go to the many vegetable stands. If I want a cut of meat, I go to the many butchers. If I need medicine, I go to the many pharmacies. If I need shampoo, I can get that at the local grocery store or store called Ipersoap. However, I have had the hardest time finding affordable housewares like bedding, furniture, cookware, etc. There isn’t a local equivalent to Target or Walmart.
When I first moved here I knew there was an IKEA in Florence, but that always seemed like a long distance (an hour and twenty minutes each way) to go for a few items. However, in the last few months, IKEA has opened a store in Pisa, which is only 30 minutes from Lucca. Last weekend was really nice, so my husband and I decided to finally go to IKEA.
The train is less than 30 minutes from Lucca to Pisa. Across the street from the train station is a free ten-minute shuttle to IKEA that runs every 30 minutes. They have a visible schedule online. The IKEA in Pisa is extremely large, so it is easy to spend a full day there. If you don’t have a full day to spend there, carry a specific list and maybe skip getting Swedish meatballs at the very crowded cafeteria unless you want to experience the designated smoking room. I’ve been to IKEA stores in the US and none of them have been so clean and nice. The bathrooms are amazing. I don’t have a child, but if I did I would love the fact that the changing table had a mobile above it in the bathroom. IKEA also has storage lockers so you can lock up some of your belongings you don’t want to carry around with you. I was just really impressed with all of the conveniences they provided to make you enjoy your shopping trip.
My only complaint about this store is a complaint I have had with other IKEA stores. Once you pass a section of the store, it is hard to go back to it. There is a certain flow to the store. We made the mistake of thinking we could go back to the cafeteria after shopping and before paying for our purchases. We wanted to make last minute decisions on what we had collected over some meatballs. We had to walk all the way back through the store to go to the cafeteria.
The check-out process was smooth. We were able to skip long lines by going to one of the do-it-yourself lines as long as we paid with credit card. Then we hopped on the free shuttle back to the train station. All the bus driver asked for was to see our receipt so make sure you have that handy.
Everything about this trip was smooth and painless, except that we bought too much stuff and then had to carry it home from the train station.