Lucca, Italy


one of the many narrow roads in Lucca


another of the roads in Lucca - a curved one

May 11, 2005 -- The ship was in Livorno today. Rather than stay in the modern port city if Livorno, though we were assured it had very nice shopping, we went to the city of Lucca. We had the option of Florence, but we have had a taste and would need more when we return.

The day started very early with a lovely drive through the Tuscan countryside. It had rained a bit earlier so it was very sparkly. Between the mountains, the area is very flat and oh so very green. The dirt is red. The river Arno runs through the area and much of the land is reclaimed from the river.

Lots of farm houses, small churches (including the one where St. Paul first stepped on the shores of Italy), and square tower fortresses along the road way. We passed Pisa on the way to Lucca.


The old Roman ampitheatre


More of the Roman ampitheatre

Today was a walking tour of the medieval portion of Lucca. Originally a Roman town, it has been continuously lived in since. There have been a series of walls each enlarging the walled portion.

The old Roman Ampitheatre was converted centuries ago into housing. As a result of the ampitheatre, of which this is one of the first, many of the roads around Lucca are curved. It is very easy to get lost in the city.

Most of the roads are narrow - 1 car width. Some are so narrow that a car can't drive down them. Then they open onto a lovely plaza.


one of the many towers


layers of buildings

Lucca has seen many waves of building. This makes for its own style with all the different layers. When Napolean installed his sister as regent of Lucca, she created many of the plazas and opened up the city with parks and public areas.

There are lots of regular as well as tourist shops and businesses in the old city. It seemed like every corner had a little shop for food and the locals were frequenting them. Of course we had to do a quick stop for bread, a sandwich, pastry, chocolate, etc.

The towers around town were a sign of wealth - built by prosperous families or as parts of churches. Lucca was a center for silk until the mid-19th C. It has always been a major trading center.


some of the older buildings - tight against each other

We took lots of pictures of Lucca and will upload them when we return. The tour itself was about 2 hours and then we had an hour on our own to wander around. Today our friend Win was accompanying us so we had 3 sets of eyes to spot the wonderful sites.
IMG_3687.JPG IMG_3686.JPG Lucca has many churches and we saw a number of them from the outside and a couple of insides. This one was built in the 6th C. Then in the 13th C they decided to turn it around 180 degrees. This fascade is a beautiful example of Romanesque Art -- all the gilding!

When they turned the church around (not physically by end to end inside), they also added to it. You can see one of the Gothic naves (below) with wonderful frescoes.


Gothic nave


Renaissance Church

Most of the chuches are early, 6-11th C. There is only one Renaissance church. It is dedicated to St. Michael. It was restored in the 18th C and the fascade was redone with the faces of the patrons of that time.

Lucca is filled with such stories. However, rather than being a museum it is a vibrant living city.


Will on the ramparts taking a picture of Robin. Win stands behind.


One of the bastions on the rampart walls. Lots of space for cannon.

Lucca still has its last set of rampart walls - mid 16th C. They have been made into a park and you can walk all the way around. Unfortunately we only had a short time for a stroll, but Will made the most of it.

Back to the ship to pack and for a final dinner. Tomorrow we disembark in Civitavecchi and take a bus to Rome. Caio.

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All text and photos copyright Robin Berry and William Ringer 2005.