Hello my beautiful friends,
As some of you may know, I suddenly got the urge to write again. I missed it these last few months and, although I wanted to get started earlier, no time seemed to be a good time. However, the Tuscan adventure offered me the peace of mind and tranquility that I longed for, in order to tell my stories.
And so, the Italian experience continues ( the Tuscan adventure part 1 – here) with the famous cities of Lucca and Pisa.
Lucca is, indeed, a living testimony of past times and it lies just north west to Florence. This city is almost perfectly preserved and is a jewel of medieval architecture. Since it isn’t a hilltop village, it is ideal for anyone with mobility issues as well as for anyone wishing to take a break from climbing.
From Montecatini Terme- our “home base” to Lucca, a 30 minute car ride awaits. Arriving there, I advise you to leave your car right outside the city walls. You can find free parking outside the city walls, but you’ll have to walk about 10-15 minutes to the entrance of the old city, as well as paid parking right next to the walls. Inside the old town, the parking is fairly expensive. You can find more information on that- here.
Lucca is completely sorrounded by the old walls, dating back to the 17th century. They have a pretty famous architect, the one and only Leonardo Da Vinci and are so broad that there is a road that loops around the top, long of about 4 km, transforming it into a pleasant walk and a nice way to see more of the city.
Lucca is an amazing city to be explored by foot. Wandering through the narrow streets you will find countless traces of history.
We entered the city through Porta Elisa, via Elisa. Continuing straight throug via Santa Croce you will find standing tall Chiesa di San Michele in Foro, in Piazza San Michele. Wander aimlessly around the narrow streets and admire the buildings, enjoy a gelato and an Espresso.
Very close to Chiesa di San Michele you will find Casa natale di Giacomo Puccini, which wasa delightful visit that I highly recommend.
No Tuscan sight is more immortalised in kitsch souvenirs than the iconic Leaning Tower in Pisa and with that in mind we planned the next adventure.
Modern Pisa is best known for an architectural project gone terribly wrong. One of Italy’s signature sights, the Torre Pendente is a 58m-high tower and it took almost 200 years to build. The tower began to lean during construction in the 12th century, due to soft ground that could not properly support the structure’s weight, and it worsened through the completion of construction in the 14th century. By 1990 the tilt had reached 5.5 degrees.Fortunately, it was stabilized between 1993 and 2001 and the tilt was reduced to 3.97 degrees.
Arriving in Piazza dei Miracoli , your sight will be captivated by the Tower, but take a look around: the Cathedral and the Baptistery are not to be missed. Take a deep breath and for a second you will understand why the Square is called as it is: everything is inded possible. After that have a good laugh at the tourists taking pictures with the Tower and let yourself loose while you do the same.
The climb up the tower is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the view is spectacular.
On our way back we decided to make one more stop, in a true Tuscan gem: Vinci. Leonardo da Vinci was born here in 1452 and lived here until 1469 when he left for Florence. You can visit his birthplace and a museum dedicated to his ideas in and near the village. As we arrived after sunset, the village was practically empty. Us, a handful of visitors and a few locals were strolling the streets and enjoying a glass of wine (or two 🙂 ) and pasta.
We soaked in the atmosphere and walked aimlessly. It was magnificent.
At last, we stopped for a nice dinner at Convinci where I served Melanzane alla Parmigiana. DE-LI-CI-OUS. I also recommend you trying cannelloni ripieni di ricotta and the lasagna.
Vino… perché nessuna bella storia è cominciata mangiando un insalata.