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Forgotten Lucca

Have you ever known a person, who at first glance did not seem interesting, certainly not popular, but when you got to know them, they turned out to be tremendously interesting and quite beautiful? That person represents Lucca, Italy, a hill town north of Florence and east of Pisa.

Lucca is not one of the tourist packed hill towns for which Tuscany is well known nor is it well publicized in the tourist guides. Geographically, it is in north Tuscany while most attention is focused on south Tuscany. Historically, the city was a pawn in the ever changing city state wars and maneuverings between Florence and Pisa, Florence and Genoa and Florence and about everyone else, never gaining enough power to fend off its ambitious neighbor, Florence. Religiously, however, Lucca was important, ever since the city became the first city in Europe where the whole population converted to Christianity.

Once you arrive in Lucca, with its high wall completely encircling the old town and its imposing towers reaching skyward, you begin to be surprised by what lies in store within the walls. First, the wall is walkable and people with baby strollers and bicyclers and strollers do just that. The old duomo (cathedral) is stately with a beautiful painting of the last supper by Tintoretto and a majestic cross dating from the 11th century with a legend that says it was made by Nicodemus (the man who allowed Jesus to be buried in his tomb) and angels before arriving in Lucca. St. Martin’s Church lies right across the square from the duomo. Below it, reachable by a stairway, are extensive Roman ruins and a large baptismal fount from the 5th century. Old Christian mosaics have also been uncovered. In the city itself, squares and narrow streets lead to more beautiful churches and one of Europe’s oldest clock towers. Relaxed and inviting, Lucca quickly becomes your friend, one you will keep for life. WEG

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3 Comments

  1. Chris Bregenzer says:

    Do your plans include Lago Maggiore? If so, you HAVE to do an all-day tour of the Borromean Islands: Isola Madre, Isola dei Pescatori, and Isola Bella , including all the gardens & palaces on Madre & Bella. Do lunch on Pescatorei. We stayed 2 nites in Stresa & bought 1 of the cheaper boat taxi round trips that included stops at all 3 islands.

    • wgraumann says:

      Oh Chris, that sounds so lovely. We will not get to go this trip. Hopefully, Como and Maggiore will be in a future trip. (We still have not been to Rome–I did see the dome of St. Peter’s from the train 🙂

  2. angiehsnow says:

    Interesting, informative and really heartwarming, the way you talk about Lucca, Wayne. Makes everyone want to be there…right now….to experience what you are have enjoyed. Thanks for sharing! Be safe you two! 🙂

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