This year, we enjoyed Easter celebrations at Christina and Enrico’s house in Lucca. We drove down in time for lunch and enjoyed a delightful pre-dinner Prosecco in the garden before sitting down to an enormous lunch. It was not quite as huge as Christmas, but course after course came out and by the end of it we were all quite well stuffed. Amongst the extended family in attendance, was Enrico’s 90 year old Nonna who had an amazing memory. We enquired about San Concordio which is the birthplace of Chris’ Dad (Bob) and she recalled a Puccetti family living on a street called “Via Formica”. Finally, something to put into the GPS!! We left after a lovely afternoon with the relatives and drove over to San Condordio in search of the house where Bob was born. Of course we didn’t know which one, but we found a house that looked about the right age and took a photo of it anyway. Next, we went in search of the Lucca Cemetary to see more Puccettis. After much driving around in circles, distant sightings of the cemetary, vague instructions from locals (who seemed to agree on how hard it was to reach) and some fun “going down one-way streets in the wrong direction” incidents…..we finally found it! But it was closed. On the most likely day that you would be visiting a cemetary (ie a religious public holiday) they decided to lock the gates. I guess that’s a trip for next time, if we can ever find our way back there again!
Our good friend Lucia (who I often write about here) knows pretty much everyone in Italy. It’s a good thing too, as she’s running for Mayor of Pontremoli. We’ve been doing quite a few favours for her campaign, such as photography and design of her brochures and campaign posters, and in return she organised a VIP tour of the Carrara Marble mines. Lucia knows the big boss, so we were driven around and given access to some pretty cool sites. The marble mountains can be recognised from a distance by their pointy and jagged shape (I call them “the pointies”) and this is because the marble has been mined from them since Roman times and actually changed the shape of the mountains. It struck me as both beautiful and terribly sad at the same time. This is a resource that won’t last forever, yet nobody I asked seemed at all concerned about that. We finished our tour with a lovely lunch at a restaurant that you’d only know about if you were a local. The food was wonderful, we even ate tripe!
Bibola, Lerici and other goings on
After we had all recovered from our nasty head colds of last week, the gorgeous spring weather enticed us out of the house for another touring adventure. Our map of the area is quickly filling up with highlighted roads with very few places left to see. We drove up to Bibola first which is known as the “verandah of Lunigiana”, being so high up and having an incredible 360 view of the surrounding mountain ranges and valleys. Not only does it have a fine view, but an equally cool castle ruin. It was built precariously on top of a peak and is only accessible up a ladder. The boys enjoyed climbing around the ruins and exploring the inside of the only intact tower there. Next, we drove on to another castle ruin at Ponzanello, which is quite close to Fosdinovo. The ruin there takes some climbing too, but with very little time left until pranzo stopped being served (priorities!!) we left Chris to do the exploring before we all drove on to Sarzana for lunch. We eventually ended up in Lerici late in the afternoon. Lerici is one of those touristy seaside towns with markets, gelati shops aplenty and a lovely big castle on the cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. We went up the steep steps of the cliff to the castle and admired the view across the bay to Portovenere. It was such a gorgeous day to explore Lerici and we ambled around at our leisure taking in the sights, sounds (and gelati) of the town.
As usual, I’ll leave you with a selection of photos from other goings on these past few days. Most notable was Denver’s tick, the third one he’s had and in a very inconvenient location too. Also, the incident with the sports equipment in the tree: a morning of throwing an assortment of projectiles, just to get one little baseball down. Enjoy!