Anyway, truth be told I have been hesitant about going. Our friends left California the same time we did and they have been so happy in their choice of Lucca. I worried, what if we liked Lucca better? Would we have regrets about coming to our little place here in Umbria? And so I procrastinated going. Finally, it was past time to visit. So I took a deep breath, got on the train and went. And the truth is we loved Lucca. It is a fantastic city. Modern, ancient, artistic, commericial, cosmopolitan. It has easy train and bus access in and out of the city. We give it an A+ of Italian cities we have visited.
One of the joys that Lucca offers is the renaissance wall that encompasses it. The surface of the walls are flat and are major walk ways for the towns people and visitors. It is an absolutely spectacular place to stroll regardless of the season. Beautiful trees, flowers, as well as interesting things to see as you walk along. The circumference of the walls is about 4 kilometers or 2.5 miles. Visitors can rent bikes, and bike along as well. The walkers, joggers and bikers all seem to share the wall with ease.
Lucca also has a canal, or a walled river that flows by outside of the wall. The water and the greenery are soothing and lush.If Florence is a city of hustle and bustle, Lucca is her serene sister.
One of the things that we noticed was how prosperous a city Lucca is. There are city workers out in force, picking up trash, cleaning the city, restoring the buildings. It is pristine.
I kept wondering where Lucca got its money. One of the ways that Lucca generates revenue is by hosting a yearly Lucca Comics and Games convention. This draws tons of people into the city and with them tons of money. The exhibition is held in this field which is just on the other side of the wall.
Here are a few basic facts about Lucca.
• It is about an hour and a half train ride from Florence or about 20 min. by train from Pisa.
• There are 99 churches in the town.
• The city is Etruscan in origins.
• The city walls date from the early 1500's. They have survived intact since then.
• Lucca was the first Tuscan town to accept Christianity.
• Henry James described it as "a city overflowing with everything that makes for ease, for plenty, for beauty, for interest and good example."
• Driving is banned within the walls, and most residents use bikes to get around.
• It has a population of about 90,000.
• The composer Giacomo Puccini (1858 - 1924) was born in Lucca. Here he is sitting watching us with amusement as we stroll by.
Lucca is known for its music school and there are nightly concerts in one of the major churches.
The Duomo is beautiful. It is dedicated to St. Martin.The tower, unfortunately, was under restoration.
Besides visiting the other 98 churches, Lucca has exceptional shopping. I bought a beautiful hand woven scarf in this lovely store.Of course we loved the dog as well.
Lucca is filled with little nooks and crannies to wander through.
Ciao a tutti.