Wednesday, October 19, 2011

6:30 - 7:30 - 8:30 Italian Style - Day 2

Citta di LUCCA

6:30 - 7:30 - 8:30

Today, following breakfast, we boarded our motor coach and drove to the medieval town of LUCCA. The first thing you will see arriving in Lucca are the town walls which are very well preserved and still today surround all the old town. Lucca is the only town in Italy entirely surrounded by walls.

Imagine a beautiful little Tuscan town protected by massively thick 16th-century walls, featuring some of Italy's finest medieval and Renaissance architecture. Lucca is one of Tuscany's best-kept secrets. Lucca is also the birthplace of the famous composer Puccini, here we met our local guide Ellen, who took us on a fascinating tour of the city.

Lucca is situated 19 m. above sea level on an alluvial plateau, to the left of the Serchio river, not far from the Tyrrhenian coast. The town lies within a circle of 16th century walls which, in the 19th century, were transformed into a tree-lined avenue; it has therefore maintained its characteristic medieval structure.

The following are a few pictures that I captured during our short visit. One of the things I love about Italy is the fact that all your senses are given a very good work out. From the bright colours, wonderful smells, sounds, and of course touch.

Sense of Sound

One of the many sounds I heard was the sound of horns and the speed of motor bikes. In fact I think I saw more Vespa's than I did of actual cars. There bright colours and shiny chrome made a perfect picture opportunity. Why they even have a perfect little parking spot!

Other things I heard, were church bells, children laughing, especially when we walked passed daycares. Children would be at the wrought iron gates saying "Ciao" or "Hello" with big contagious smiles on their little faces. And lets not forget the many conversations in many languages, Dutch, German, Chinese and of course Italian.

Sense of Smell

How is it that our sense of smell always make us feel so good or reminds us when we were children. Lucca took me back, from the markets with fresh fruit to the meat and cheese shops. Lets not forget the bakeries with there fresh baked breads with oils and vinegars. I am certain that no one who visits Italy cannot find something delicious that delights their palate.

Can you say Balsamic Vinegar, so many to choose
from and so many pretty bottles.

This particular market had so many wonderful smells,
from aged cheese, to meats hanging from
the ceiling. I could have stayed there all day!
Sense of Colour

The first thing that struck me while strolling through Lucca was colour, from buildings to flowers to fashion. Italians love colour and even more they love fashion. I have to say I have never seen so many beautiful shop windows, with colour and elegance. Seriously I was addicted to the fashions that I saw and how much more advance Italy is than we are in North America.

Italian fashion isn't limited to adults, there were
just as many children's boutiques,
even boutiques for pets. Bella Bella Bella...
This shop window was a good example of
how fashionable Italians are. I love the dress with
the fur and the coat if I could I would have bought
everything in this window.
Again so lov'n this both the colour and
the style and doesn't this mannequin look
like one of the mannequin's from the
movie Confessions of a Shopaholic?
I love how stores look like personal homes, using
furniture that can be found everyday, so charming.
Need I say more COLOUR and leather a great combo,
I bought a purse from this store in chocolate, orange
and turquoise, I could just eat it!

The San Martino Church

Duomo di San Martino ? This Romanesque cathedral contains a famous relic, the Volto Santo (Holy Face), a wooden figure of Christ. The Volto Santo is believed to be the true face of Christ, carved by Nicodemus who was present at the crucifixion.

The Cathedral was completely rebuilt between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries; in 1261 it was joined to the adjoining bell-tower, hence the unusual asymmetry of the facade and its smaller arch to the right.

Some of the carving dates back to the fifth century and some work has been attributed to Nicola Pisano.

The tomb of Ilaria is the work of Lucca's famous son, Matteo Civitali, and dates from the fifteenth century. The Volto Santo (Holy Face) is a wooden effigy that is said to be a true image of Christ, carved by Nicodemus at the crucifixion. Once a year the revered effigy is removed to head a procession through the streets of Lucca. Cathedral Museum. Rising alongside the Duomo, the museum is located in a complex of medieval origin. It houses a patrimony of inestimable artistic and historical value. Included in the collection are miniature codices, jewelry, paintings, liturgical dress, sculptures and wooden crosses, organized according to a chronological and didactic order, belonging as well to the Cathedral and the Baptistery of S. Giovanni. Admission is charged; closed Mondays

The San Martino Church

The San Martino Church

Town Shots - A Day in Lucca

Walking through the streets of Lucca you can't help but find so many wonderful images that need preserving. From simple street shots to flower stands, quiet streets, beautiful doors, even little dogs in bike baskets. I simple loved Lucca!



The San Frediano Church

The facade of the church is decorated with a lavish thirteenth century mosaic; the interior is worth seeing and houses a richly carved baptismal font as well as a shrine to Lucca's saint, Santa Zita. (details) Instantly distinguishable from other Romanesque churches of Lucca by its golden mosaic high on the facade, the church of San Frediano is also of interest internally. The huge twelfth century baptismal font, the Fonte Lustrale, lies immediately at the entrance and is decorated with biblical scenes attributed to three different craftsmen. The church also houses a shrine to Santa Zita, Lucca's saint, whose mummified body is brought out once a year when she may be touched by the devout.

The San Frediano Church

"Piazza Anfiteatro" Piazza of the Amphitheatre

Built on the site of an original Roman amphitheatre, Piazza Anfiteatro is another ‘must-see' in Lucca. Some original Roman elements remain, particularly within the outer walls. This ancient site constitutes one of the most characteristic and original monuments of the city. The ancient amphitheatre dates from the 2nd century A.D. It was built on an elliptical plan with two rows of 54 arcades and a maximum capacity of 10,000 spectators. Beginning in the Middle Ages, houses were built over the ruins. Over the course of time the piazza developed its characteristic elliptical shape, with buildings all around it. The ancient remains are still quite evident today. The colorful piazza was restored in 1830. Enlivened by shops and cafes, it is still at the center of cultural activities, music festivals, and fairs.

I love how this arch frames the piazza enhancing the colours and the blue sky.

Inviting cafe waiting for guests in the Piazza Anfiteatro.

I love how the buildings here are round with beautiful
green shutters many of which have laundry hanging from them.

First cafe in Italy in Piazza Anfiteatro.

Lunch in the piazza yes that is me eating tomatoes
but they are so different in Italy sweet and organic so delicious.

It Brought Tears to My Eyes - Pisa, Italy

As I turned the corner my eyes gazed upon something so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes.

Pisa, renowned worldwide for its Leaning Tower, definitely deserves more than the usual day stop which traditionally occurs on tourist routes. The city boasts an ancient history which was at its most splendid during the era of the Marine Republic. For tourists, Pisa is a treasure chest full of surprises; from the bright Lungarni quays walled by noble buildings, to the web of narrow, medieval alleys leading to the famous Piazza dei Miracoli. Home of Galileo Galilei, Pisa is today an important university city and offers a lively student lifestyle.

One of the things that I found surprising in Italy is the fact that buildings are so close together, I mean really I thought the Leaning Tower was on its own but was pleasantly surprised that it sat against the spectacular Cathedral of Pisa.

What do you say but WOW!

I love how the sun reflects off the Tower and gives a
kaleidoscope of colour. At first I thought there was
something wrong with my camera, not realizing what
was happening. So perfect so beautiful.

Cathedral of Pisa

Can you imagine having these for your front
doors so beautiful Cathedral of Pisa 
Amazing example of  Corinthian Columns.

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