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Lucca is one of those cities in Italy that I feel very familiar with. Even though I’ve only been there three times, I could lead you to just about any section of the city. Furthermore, if you plonked me down in the centre somewhere, I could easily find my way to any of the gates. This is unusual for ME as I often get lost in restaurants and can’t find my way back to my table after visiting the bathroom! Maybe it’s because I love Lucca so much? It’s definitely not due to any logical grid Adelaide-like design, as Lucca has the typical narrow winding streets of a medieval Italian town. Anyway, we paid this lovely place another visit this week.
We chose a gorgeous day, amongst all the gorgeous Spring days we are enjoying right now, and planned to walk the entire circumference of the city along the top of the wall. Since the kids were in school, we decided to arrive early in Lucca so that we had enough time to get back home before “il pulmino”. We parked inside the walls this time and headed for a quick coffee and brioche before commencing the walk. On that day, the city was full of tourists. I suppose the warmer weather is coming and we are seeing the start of tourist season, as we saw many group tours wandering the streets. Funny how we no longer feel like tourists! We ascended to the top of the wall on the East side and began our stroll.
The wall was built in the 15th to 17th centuries and was for the defense of Lucca against “the old enemy” Florence. Lucca was never attacked, but these walls would have withstood a serious beating I’m sure! The walls are formed by eleven ramparts joined by curtain walls for a length of 4.2 km. The ramparts were constructed in different shapes and are now lovely parks with trees, grass, flowers and benches. The view from the wall on either side is lovely and you get a birds-eye view of different parts of Lucca as you progress. At about the half way mark, we came upon a most impressive Palazzo with many old stone statues arranged throughout its impressive gardens. As we stood looking, a nice man sitting on a nearby bench explained to us that it is the Palazzo Pfanner and a very old and important building of Lucca. We decided to stop for lunch and check it out. The Palazzo is accessed off the street through two huge doors and, as we wandered around the imposing entrance foyer, we could not find anybody around. All having pranzo perhaps? We took a self-tour anyway and enjoyed the beautiful gardens and ornate ceilings and stone-work inside. After a nice lunch we resumed our walk from the west side. There were many people riding bikes along the wall, mainly loud teenagers racing each other. Next time we come to Lucca we will do the same as I’m sure the boys would love a bike ride in such a picturesque location (so would we!). Before we knew it, we were back on the east side and our circuit was complete. Please enjoy the pictures:
Just a few more photos before I say goodbye for a week or so (or should that be adieu since we will be in France? Did I mention we are going to PARIS??! I thought since we are going to PARIS that I should probably say so. I wouldn’t want anyone to worry about us not being in touch because we are in PARIS. I mean, I will not be able to write much while we are in PARIS. I expect PARIS will have internet though. OK….I’ll shut up now…..)