August 15 - The Ancient City of Lucca
Breakfast this morning at La Romea was a pleasant surprise. A delightful buffet was prepared with sliced vine ripe tomatoes, cheese and sausages, a fresh fruit salad, scrambled eggs, croissants, and piping hot cappuccino served in pottery mugs.
We decided to explore the town on foot and stopped at a café for some almond cookies. Visiting old churches is a great way to cool off and get out of the sun. At the archaeology museum we explored Roman ruins under the main sanctuary. Excavation is still in progress, but has revealed floors of tiny mosaics. Unfortunately there is also some evidence of plant life growing on the stones due to dampness.
The streets of Lucca were alive today with tourists from all over. A street market with long tables was set up under umbrellas or hidden in the shade cast from the buildings featured antiques, many which were unusual. One table had WWII memorabilia while another had an ornate gold porcelain shell with porcelain fish inside, I thought it was ugly, but somehow in this ancient city it caught my eye. A Pinnochio doll clanging cymbals amused many shoppers who were admonished by the owner for touching his wares.
The Torre Guingi is a symbol of Lucca and is easily recognized by its old oak trees on top. At 130 feet high it is an easy climb up a wide staircase with windows offering a cool breeze at every landing. From the top we had an expansive view of Lucca which once had 146 towers.
Dinner was at Bella M’Briana. The pesto pizza with tomatoes hot out of the oven was the best pizza I have ever had and only cost 6 euro. Out dessert was at Gelateria Veneta which has been in the same family since 1927. Their peach, apricot, and raspberry gelati was so tasty you would think you were eating the fruit right off the tree.
An evening is never complete in Lucca without a stroll around the ramparts that ring the old town. Their well shaded dimly lit walkways were the perfect ending for a hot, but enjoyable stay.
Old trees atop the tower
Decades of growth
reach for the sky
changing with each season
Silently we rest beneath the branches
Grateful for the shade
of old trees