What a day and it’s not over yet! Had an excellent sleep last night and was up and off early this morning exploring.
It was lovely out before everyone else so could walk the streets and soak up Italy in my own time.
Lucca is a medieval town that is world heritage listed and has a wall all the way around it. Years ago and I am talking BC it was settled by the Swiss. Because it was in the middle of Italy and was run by the Swiss it was never affected by wars or invasions. There was a moat all the way around it and was virtually impenetrable. If there was any issues with people wanting to raid the town or get the involved with the outside world, the Swiss were so wealthy they would buy them off to keep them away.
The whole town used to be Italian palaces with 96 towers throughout the town. However over the years when the community started to live outside the walls it was not permitted to have towers higher than the ruler so they were all taken off.
So many of the old buildings are still standing but in desperate need of repair but so expensive to do so that a lot of people have moved out of town. Today only 1000 people live in Lucca and a lot of the buildings are boarded up.
Early this morning I walked the ramparts around the city as there is a fantastic path built on the top that is for walking, running, cycling, walking your dog. Anything you like.
Popped back to my B&B for breakfast and I was off for the day. Unfortunately just prior to my leaving the apartment I realised my Travelex card had dropped out of my phone, pocket or something so after a mild panic got onto the right people and cancelled the card. Luckily I had a secondary card so all was ok.
Got my map and walked the city. So many old buildings and so gorgeous.
I found the botanical gardens and went for a wander through them. They were beautiful and everything is so green. There were turtles in the pond with lotus lilies
Would you believe in the middle of one of the lawns there was a Wollembi pine thriving.
It was a beautiful day and I walked and walked and explored the town.
Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca so sat in his piazza and had an aperol and went into the house he was born in
Whilst sitting in the piazza a couple of musicians came along with their saxophone and tambourine and boom box and started playing music. It was just like in the movies.
I had booked a walking tour of Lucca so made my way to the meeting point and was met by Gabrielle who was just a wealth of information.
This building below with the decoration in the red bricks goes back to 12th century. Most of Lucca is built with red brick and that is how you can tell it is really old. Unfortunately a lot of the buildings have had to be filled in where the windows were to reinforce the building as it got older.
The building above is one of the only buildings left that has not been filled in and reinforced.
There is a clock tower in the town that was made by the Swiss. I was very disappointed when I was told the clock no longer works. What happened to Swiss precision?
There is a bell inside that still chimes but because it used to be very loud and chimed every 15 minutes the locals complained so they have reduced the noise, stopped it from chiming after midnight until early morning and cut the chimes in half so even though it chimes you can’t tell what the time is because they have halved the amount of chimes so instead of midday you may only get 4 chimes! Oh how I love Italy.
As we were making our way around the city we came across the highest tower in town and it is called seven oaks because they have a roof garden at the top of the tower and have planted 7 oaks up there. The reason the are oaks is they have a very short root system so don’t grow down into the tower. When the walk was over I went back and climbed to the top. 238 steps to the top but the view was spectacular
By the time I had done this I was exhausted so went back to my B&B and had a quick shower and out again to a Puccini concert.
I stopped at a little cafe for a glass of wine and a little risotto and then walked across the piazza to the church for the concert.
I had front row seats and there was a pianist on a grand piano and a tenor (who was blind) and a soprano and they were brilliant.
At half time we all wandered through the church and at the back there were excavations done were they had discovered Roman baths under the church.
After the concert I headed home as have to admit I was stuffed. I have done 31,171 steps today which equates to 21.8kms. I could be doing the Camino again!!!
A big day today and tomorrow I am off to the cinque terra.