Saturday, September 6, 2008


Our three weeks in Tuscany are broken into two segments - one week in the north, based out of Lucca and two weeks in the south, based out of Montepulciano. Our first stop - Lucca.

As we pull into town, Siena's first question is "What is there to do here?" The answer is "Nothing." A slight exaggeration, but the truth is, each of the cities/towns of Tuscany offer little "to do". You go to each of the towns because each one has it's own special square, it's own special church, and it's own special flavor. It is therefore difficult to stay in just one town for any length of time unless you just want to chill.

Lucca, being one of the northern most cities in Tuscany is not a hill town or even in the rolling hills that we think of when we think of Tuscany. The city is flat! Which of course makes it perfect for bike riding. The old city of Lucca is also completely walled which you can walk or bike on for a nice three kilometer jaunt. While not the biking experience that we had in Holland, we still enjoyed renting bikes and riding the wall as well as the streets of the old city.

Lucca is also the birthplace of opera composer Giacomo Puccini. This year is the 150th Anniversary of his birth and there is a major celebration throughout Lucca and other areas of Tuscany. While the museum (in his home) was closed for renovations (seems like a strange year to decide to renovate), we were able to take in an operatic concert with pieces by Puccini as well as other opera composers. Avocet and Siena swore going in that they did not like opera and their opinion was no different coming out - at least we tried. Marty and I enjoyed the event none the less.

We split our days in Lucca between spending time in the city itself and day trips to nearby places. Day Trip #1 was to the beach and the city of Pisa, Day Trip #2 was to the Garfagnana region to hike outside the town of Fornovalasco, and Day Trip #3 was to Collidi to Parc de Pinocchio. More about these trips from my co-writers.

Lucca itself is a lovely city but in all honesty, we didn't get to know it all that well. With only a week in the city and 50% of our time in other places we would be hard pressed to call the city home. I did however, have the opportunity to get my hair cut in town (my first Italian cut) and I also purchased a bathing suit in town since mine appears to have disappeared somewhere between Ljubljana and here (still trying to figure out how I managed that one). Buying a bathing suit is not an easy task for any woman under the best of circumstances but here I am, in a small city, the end of the season (all stores had fall clothes in them) and a limited amount of time. I set a record for myself purchasing a bathing suit after having tried on only three (that's all I could find in town in my size).

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