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Published: September 6th 2018
Today we left the gorgeous Ligurian coast and headed south and west to Lucca and then on to Florence. We spent most of the day in Lucca, a walled medieval town, although its first walls were built in Roman times. In 56 B.C. Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus agreed to rule Rome as a triumvirate. It is known for its towers, one of which is very prominent today because it has trees growing from its top. The towers were built by the rich of the town on their palaces and the town was a republic and didn't want any one to get ahead of their neighbors--so they limited the height and the plantings were a way around the limit.
Lucca has over 80 churches, many of which are not used as churches any more. One such building is the Post Office.
We walked up to the top of the walls which are like broad parks. They are quite wide and go for 2 1/2 miles. They were built to keep out the Medicis who were all over this area. Allan, our art historian did a chalk talk on the design of the fortifications.
We visited two churches which are at either end
of a celebration of Santa Croce.In the Duomo this black figure of Christ, said to date back to the 8th century(questionable), called the Volte Santo, or Holy Face, is decorated to the hilt with gold and walked through the town in which every building is lit with thousands of candles. We may get to see something similar in Florence.
We had some free time for lunch and shopping, but we keep forgetting that the shops close at one, sometimes until 3. We stopped for lunch at a corner cafe under an umbrella to avoid the heat. Before we could order, a small truck came around the corner and snagged the umbrella with its hanging light fixtures. We jumped up and got out of the way while they extricated themselves and cleaned up the mess, slipping next door to another cafe where we had a fine lunch.
Had gelato at the Geleteria Veneta, a highly rated Geleteria which makes it fresh three times a day. I had peach and it could have come right from the tree!
We met our bus to travel on to Florence, where we are staying in a boutique hotel which used to be a convent. There
are traces of the original buildings which date back to the 1300's. There was a monastery with a house for religious pilgrims, called spedale. The Hotel has a booklet with its history and lots of photos. It has a Michelin Three star restaurant where we had an amazing welcoming meal. After dinner Allan offered a night walk around Florence and the hardy (yes, and the foolhardy) went. We saw the Duomo at night--truly beautiful experience. 12000 steps today again.
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