Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Shanghaied in Tuscany!

Lucca - a Tuscan gem

I got up around 7:30, which I thought was fairly creditable given that I was on holiday. I had breakfast in the conservatory section of the hotel's dining area, thinking that the courtyard might still a bit on the cool side at this time of the day. After a quick return to my room to get organised, I was ready for my day trip to Lucca. Confident that I now had my bearings, I set out for the railway station on foot and got there within maybe 15 to 20 minutes. The journey only takes some 25 minutes and trains are reasonably frequent, so I found myself in the only entirely new destination of my second visit to Tuscany well before 10am. I quickly found the tourist information office and armed myself with a map.

The station is situated just outside the most impressive city walls and the first task was finding a way in! I followed a footpath that seemed to be going nowhere, but it disappeared into the wall and, with some gentle stair climbing in semi-darkness, I soon emerged on the wide top of the wall. It was then a simple task to walk down on the other side and I was soon consulting my newly acquired map and finding my way through the rabbit's warren of narrow streets and lanes.

It wasn't long before I was well and truly hooked. Every turn seemed to reveal a new, photogenic scene. It probably won't come as a surprise that, throughout the visit as a whole, I clocked up a total of 172 photos! But I'm getting ahead of myself. I wandered around, gazing and clicking, for around 90 minutes, before finding myself in the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, which forms the present-day remains of the original Roman Amphitheatre. After another bout of photography, I decided that it was the perfect spot for some lunch.

I then slowly made my way back to the station, via parts of the walled city that I hadn't visited in the morning.

One thing I forgot to mention is that Lucca was home to at least three famous names in classical music: the composers Luigi Boccherini, Francesco Geminiani and, most famous of all, the operatic giant Giacomo Puccini. The latter cropped up all over the place, the previous year having seen the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Back in Pisa, I relaxed for a bit and then decided that an appropriate way to end my visit would be to see the Piazza dei Miracoli at nightfall. I took a few shots of the famous buildings in very different lighting conditions, before having an al fresco pizza to finish off a most enjoyable day.

Saturday 03 Oct

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