Monday, April 13, 2009


My last trip to Italy for a while.

I went to the very cool little walled town of Lucca about 30 minutes on the train out of Florence. I considered going to Sienna, a more tourist popular walled city about the same distance... but the train doesn't stop by the walled portion of Sienna so I'd have had to take a bus also. Plus, the less-travelled route appealed to me.

Lucca is pretty small, but still large enough that I could have easily spent a couple days just inside the wall (I have no idea what is OUTSIDE the wall other than the train station, lol). Looking through a guidebook later I see several very cool piazzas I didn't come across while wandering around.

This is the main entrance... and by "main" I mean the one I used... :-)

The church of San Michele. An awesome edifice. Apparently the money ran out before the church could be built up to the level of the façade... but I couldn't tell it wasn't intentional. The bell tower was started in the 12th century but not finished until the 19th.

All these columns are carved differently - can you tell? I've seen this sort of thing before - for example on the 'trim' of the Florence Duomo there are multiple patterns - cherubs, vines, etc. I wonder if each column has some meaning, the designer just wanted to mix it up or maybe they assigned the columns to different craftsmen and just let them run with it?

The church of San Christoforo. I like these old ones... this one's 12th century.

It was really quiet when I got there. I think they observe the mid-day break more here than in Florence. Lots of people were coming back through the wall in the early afternoon and the stores were opening up.

Walking around the wall. There were a lot of people walking, riding their bikes and walking dogs - it was real nice. I could see living in Lucca and strolling the wall every evening...

There were some passageways under the wall that were still in use.

Some of it was pretty wet (water dripping from the ceiling) and cave like...

Typical - lots of curved streets.

This is a Roman amphitheater, but it's been built over. No sign of the amphitheater other than the round piazza.

The Basilica of San Frediano has an incredible Mosaic façade.

Palazzo Pfanner Garden. Closed for renovations but very pretty.

View of the wall (the moat used to be filled with water). The city was saved from a flood in 1812 when they were able to "hermetically seal" up the gates.

I would LOVE to sit on this terrazzo with a little Chianti and watch the walkers in the evening... Take a lap, take a break, take a lap... it would be awesome on a warm Spring evening.

More of the wall, which I couldn't get enough of :-)

I think we're going to try to stay in Lucca when my entire family visits. It's an easy train ride to Florence, Rome, Pisa and even Cinque Terre while having a much more laid-back feel than Florence.

I just saw a TV show about some lady that bought an apartment in Lucca - they were going for around $400/sq ft (and needed work) so I guess I'll be living in Palmer for the foreseeable future... lol

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