We were told over and over again that we had to visit Lucca. It is the favorite place for many. This might be in part because it, unlike most of Tuscany is flat and a welcome respite from all the hill climbing. But it is much more than that. We decided to take two nights from our time in Orvieto and spend them in Lucca. This would also allow us to take a quick day trip to Pisa and stop on our way back to Orvieto in another Tuscan hill town of renown, Volterra. Linda found a nice hotel for us just outside the wall which was easy to find and included both parking and an English style breakfast. Outside the wall, Lucca is an industrial city that specializes in paper products producing most of the paper produced in Italy.
|Door stop or place to tie up the animals?|
|Probably to hold a steel reinforcement bar in place?|
|Just an ordinary corner decoration|
|An old-style store front.|
We did not see how this works, but it folds in on itself in a T-shape at night.
|Notice the remains of the old Roman theater peeking through the walls.|
|Inside the old theater walls. Not recommended for eating. Too much money for not great quality.|
Our dinner at Puccio Puccini however was excellent.
The appetizer was excellent consisting of a tomato based filled with a heavy dark bread and small whole squid like you get when you order calamari. Linda didn’t care for the strong tomato base, but I loved it. Our main courses were also tomato-based. Linda ate quite a bit of the gnocchi while I enjoyed my pasta and some of her gnocchi. We spent some time talking to the people who came in just after we arrived who had more questions about the menu. Our waiter finally went in back to grab one of the cooks who had a translator on his phone that helped. They ordered the same appetizer and shared a pasta with mussels that also looked very good. Linda commiserated with one of the ladies who was on crutches. She had fallen three days before their trip. Without trip insurance she decided she just had to make the best of it and was doing so. When they finished dinner, they called a taxi to take them to the train station back to the small town where they were staying. The lady is quite a trooper.
On our full day in Lucca, we followed the Rick Steves’ walking tour which led us to several interesting sites and churches. We started at the Anfiteatro, a circle of buildings built on the site of the old Roman theater. From there we again walked down the shopping street and made several turns down the many curved and narrow streets until we reached the Duomo. Along the way we passed the statue of Puccini and his home. Puccini was born and lived his life here. Throughout the summer months, one can attend a Puccini concert any night of the week. During the winter, these are only on weekends so we will have to return another time for that pleasure. A stop for some gelato, something we do regularly, would tide us over until dinner time.
|The short one is Guiseppi Garibaldi, hero of Italian unification.|
The walls were turned into a city park by Duchess Maria Luisa, daughter of the King of Spain who became the ruler of Lucca in the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo and the demise of Napoleon. Today, they are a popular attraction for picnickers and joggers and just townsfolk out for a stroll. At 2.5 miles around it is long enough to provide a mile workout for walkers and wide enough for all types of recreationists including bicyclists.
|Easy entrances all along the inner side of the wall|
|One of the eleven bastions|
|We saw several play areas on the inner side of the wall|
|An interesting way to display the wine at Allosteria|