Lucca is circled by huge brick walls that have been incorporated most brilliantly into the fabric of the city as a walking trail and wooded park..
St Peter's Gate is still in daily use, pedestrians and bicycles to the side and vehicles, one way at a time through the main arch.
Inside the massive walls the city consists of a number of grid patterned streets in the usual way, because this town is set on the Tuscan coastal plain, thus near the sea and it's overshadowed by its more famous neighbor Pisa.
But geography and Chianti-shire around famous Siena, have both thrust Lucca, a sweet provincial town out of the limelight and left it a sleepy backwater.
But this is Italy so Lucca doesn't lack the kind of architecture and sleeping spires that inspire photographers.
It seems Sunday is market day in the streets of Lucca, and we landed in the middle of it. I am not a shopper by any means but I wondered how my wife might enjoy the experience. She didn't think the stalls filled with bric-a-brac offered anything for her.
Lucca's greatest claim to fame is an operatic composer whose connection to the city of his birth was cause for summer celebrations this year. Even though the 150th anniversary of his birth had slipped by a few years. No harm in having a redo I'm sure.
I wondered momentarily if the ATM was a package deal with the mirror and the painting. That might have tempted me.
It was a lovely day for a walk but we came to a conclusion this Sunday. Holidays are crappy days to explore new cities. Most businesses are closed and the place does not show itself as it really is.
Lucca did not appeal to my wife but she wants to return and see it as it really is on a weekday.
I saw this plaque explaining a street name dedicated to a citizen of Lucca less august than Giacomo Puccini, and I thought to myself, what a great job, to be Prefect of the Secret Vatican Archive. Not so secret any longer it seems.
We took one last look at the boulevards of Lucca...
...the city's great wall and got back into the car to look for adventure elsewhere, trekking the coastal vineyards further north. But that was another story, already told.
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