A day trip to Lucca

On this day of sunshine, we are able to successfully wrestle ourselves out of bed, take our showers, and make our way to Lucca for exploration. Not far from Florence and Pisa, Lucca has somehow escaped the masses of tourists bound for those two other places. Lucca is surrounded by a wall which dates back to the 17th century when it was used for defense. Now, the flat-topped wall is 4 km of green parks, which makes it a great place to walk or bike.

We spend the usual amount of time looking for parking and puzzling over the parking meter rules while various professional-looking cyclists get organized for their next leg. Two streets up from the main gate, we are already hungry, so we stop at a trattoria in the piazza and have gnocchi, mussels, clams, and porchetta. Thus fortified, we continue.

Hello, Leonardo

Eight euros gets us into the Leonardo exhibit (actually, six euros for the three of us who are oldest and eight euros for Christine. Liz tells the ticket taker, who is shouting into her cell phone, that three of us are vecchio (old) and one of us is una bambina (a baby), which is as close as she can get to real Italian. The exhibit is fascinating. Some very industrious people have actually built all of the things Leonardo was just thinking about, based on his drawings — pulleys, various methods for distributing weight, creepy weapons of war, hidden poles designed to push away the ladders of the armies that are trying to climb over your walls (surprise! Off you go.), and more. We agree we would all like to see Pat ride the big wooden bicycle. Mike spends some time in the room of mirrors.

Strolling and gelato

Lucca is a city of cyclists. People everywhere are riding old, beat-up bicycles kind of helter skelter. It’s every man for himself. We steer clear and take a gelato break. In the Piazza di Amphitheater (we think that’s the name), Liz and Christine spot Le Sorelle, a charming shop owned by four artistic sisters who hand-paint table linens. Of course, we buy — matching table runners with the promise that each is fully lendable should anyone ever need two for a party.

Tired and ready for a rest, we head back to the villa, with a stop at the grocery store to buy enough food for the rest of our stay. Mike makes a purchasing error, and we wind up with nearly a pound of prosciutto. For dinner that night, we have prosciutto-wrapped everything.

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Day Trip To Lucca

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