Blogs from Lucca, Tuscany, Italy, Europe - page 3

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Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca October 18th 2013

One of the good things about staying in one place for an extended period is that you can have the occasional “rest day” without feeling that you’re missing out on something or that you should be out sight-seeing. Ced & I decided to do just that today as the “youngsters” were heading to San Gimignano, a place we’d visited last week. We got up fairly late, dealt with another Airbnb booking for our flat, caught up on some mundane chores, made a packed lunch and walked to a beautiful sunny spot on the walls for a picnic. The weather was perfect but there were not many tourists about so it was very peaceful and relaxing. We had some tickets for the Lucca Comic and Cartoon Museum left over from a combo ticket we’d bought when we ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca October 16th 2013

Heavy rain fell last night but today dawned bright and sunny. The market was on so we headed there with Jon & Mon via a walk around part of the city walls while the girls did some shopping on their own. We met them later then headed up the Torre Guinigi (this time with my camera!) for a bird’s-eye view of the city. Visits to the Duomo and other churches and another bike ride around the walls in the late afternoon filled up the day very nicely. We had a lovely dinner in the evening at a restaurant called Paris Bohème, to celebrate all past year’s birthdays…beautiful home-cooked food, reasonably priced and with a very flamboyant and amusing Italian waiter!... read more
Lucca
Lucca
Lucca

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca October 14th 2013

A real breather for all you readers today...as you can see in the one photo taken from our window, black clouds surround the Torre Guinigi and it rained in Lucca for most of the day, making most expeditions impossible. To add to the depressing weather it was also Monday, meaning that places like museums where you could normally spend some time indoors were closed. Tourists wandered the streets in their rain gear, map in hand, looking for something to do. Outdoor cafe tables were deserted. We did manage a couple of short shopping trips however, and purchased some warm gear for Ced so that he can cope better with the inevitable cold weather when we arrive in Germany. We're heading to Pisa tomorrow in the train to meet the Scots and weather permitting, visit the Leaning ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca October 13th 2013

How could one not go to a market described as “Mercato Straodinario”? We set off this morning thinking this event was taking place near the Porta St Anna one of the gates to the old city, but when we got there, absolutely nothing was happening! The famous composer, Giacomo Puccini is a native of Lucca so we decided to check out his birthplace instead. It is tucked into the corner of one of the smaller piazzas and has been converted into a museum, while still managing to retain the features of the original house…you actually have to ring a bell and go upstairs to get in. As well as hearing strains of Puccini’s music playing in the background, you can see his piano, his original marked scores, letters to and from his wife and his publisher ... read more
Lucca Centro Storico
Lucca Centro Storico
Lucca Centro Storico

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca October 12th 2013

12th October 2013 The forecast for today was for a cool morning followed by heavy rain in the afternoon, so we decided to head off to the supermarket and get some supplies before the weather changed. By the time we returned home and had lunch the weather had improved - weather forecasting is a dodgy business anywhere in the world - so we walked to the botanic gardens (Orto Botanico) and enjoyed a pleasant stroll through the gardens in glorious sunshine. We went to the tourist office to get some bus timetable information then took a walk along the wall to the bus terminal. Naturally the office was closed - it was after 5pm. We then headed towards home and as we passed a pasticceria, we saw delicious home made pies (tortes) in the window. A ... read more
Lucca Cento Storico
Lucca Shops
Lucca Shops

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca October 11th 2013

Lucca in Tuscany Italy 10 October 2013 Before leaving very wet Pisa, we stopped at the Pam Supermarket (yes there is a network of them through Italy). It was still raining but not excessively cold. We headed north-east to visit a really interesting town, Lucca. As we were now in the Tuscany Region, the countryside was beautiful. It was hilly rather than mountainous. We drove through little villages, vineyards, olive groves and many, many plant nurseries. We only had about 35km to drive. The reason why we wanted to go to Lucca is that our book wrote up the city of 85,000 people as “this beautiful old city elicits love at first sight with its rich history, handsome churches and excellent restaurants. Hidden behind imposing Renaissance walls, it is an essential stopover on any Tuscan tour….so ... read more
Lucca Tuscany Region Italy 10 Oct 2013 (1)
Lucca Tuscany Region Italy 10 Oct 2013 (26)
Lucca Tuscany Region Italy 10 Oct 2013 (2)

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca October 10th 2013

Our first almost continually wet day of the holiday so we didn’t venture out much. A break in the clouds late morning resulted in us climbing the 420 steps of the Torre Guinigi, the tower that is part of the view from our apartment (see yesterday’s pics). On the way up there were lots of old paintings depicting the history of Lucca, including all the battles between noble families over the years. At the top there are holm oak trees that were planted hundreds of years ago. The views of the towers and other landmarks, rooftops and distant mountains were spectacular but I foolishly forgot to take my camera! I will need to return to capture those views. After lunch the weather appeared to be improving so we set out to visit the beautiful Chiesa di ... read more
Lucca
Lucca
Lucca

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca October 9th 2013

As we’d done lots of driving and walking yesterday, we opted for a less active day today. Using one of the Travelzoo list of specials emailed to us weekly, we managed to pick up an excellent deal for return flights to Christchurch for late Jan 2014. We’re very keen to reconnect with our family there, especially our newest grandson, Sami, who will be 11 months old by then. In spite of getting lost in the maze of streets in Lucca each time we go out, we managed to find the local market, held each Wed & Sat. We bought fresh fruit & vegetables, cheese and chicken, although they also had lots of clothing and other bits and pieces. On our return we had coffee as strains of music drifted in from the local Institute of Music. ... read more
Lucca
Lucca
Lucca

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca October 7th 2013

Not a very exciting morning…got up late, had breakfast, organised some accommodation in Munich, put on some washing, got the dishwasher going, overloaded the power supply and tripped the safety switch. Time to make a move, so we walked to the Cathedral of St Martin (the Duomo), a huge edifice built in the 13thcentury and in incredibly good condition. Fantastic sculptures and paintings from 16th Century & earlier, including Tintoretto's famous "Last Supper". There is a wooden sculpture, the Volto Santo, purportedly carved by Nicodemus, whose claim to fame was that his burial chamber was used to lay the body of Christ. While the claim regarding Nicodemus is highly unlikely to be true, this ancient art work is very striking and well worth visiting the cathedral just to see this. Also exceptional was the Tomb of ... read more
Lucca
Lucca
Lucca

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca October 6th 2013

The rain had cleared overnight. This weekend there were planned celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the building and unlocking of the walls around Lucca. All events yesterday were cancelled due to the weather but no problems today so we headed to the Porta St. Maria to catch all the action. It was a very colourful scene with bands of drummers and trumpeters followed by flag carriers, archers and assorted folk dressed in mediaeval costume. They came from various parts of the town and assembled at Porta St. Maria for the ceremony. All very enjoyable but once the speeches started we headed off for a walk along part of the wall then back to the apartment for the ever-welcome coffee break. In the afternoon we decided to stroll through the streets and familiarise ourselves with the ... read more
Lucca Centro Storico
Lucca Centro Storico
Lucca Centro Storico




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