Home of Puccini
Day 5 LUCCA TO CINQUE TERRA
In the town of Lucca we met up with our guide Gabriele who walked us around the walled Tuscan city, which is contained by both a Medieval wall to stop arrows and Renaissance wall to stop cannons. Prepared with the wall, Lucca ("lucky") has not seen a battle since the middle ages. The wall top park is now a 2.5 mile path lined with trees for walkers and bikers. The impressive Piazza dell’Anfiteatro is a 10,000 seat remnant of a Roman amphitheater. In front of the San Frediano Basilica, a violinist serenaded our group. A magical Italian moment, we listened to the music and dined alfresco.
Then down the Via Fillungo to check out the shopping to Piazza San Michele and finally ending at the home of Giacomo Puccini, the father of opera. Known for Farro Risotto and Buccellato wreath shaped bread, one must see and taste each town. Here in Lucca, especially Lisa discussed the Italian factions of Guelfs (on the Pope’s side – merchants) and Ghibellines (on the King’s side - nobles). In architecture you could identify Guelfs by the squared off crenellations on the towers and the Ghibellines with the swallowtail ones. However, Florence, a Guelf powerhouse, was constantly fighting the rest of Tuscany.
After the tour we rented bicycles and road around the Lucca Ramparts on a peaceful tree lined bike path for an hour. This was my favorite experience as the people-watching were locals versus tourists. Pete took a nap on a park bench, but was awoken by our tour mates stopping by to chat. Missed out on climbing the Torre Guigni, topped with trees and garden, but saving that for my next visit to Lucca.
With Puccini's music still in the air we boarded the bus as we headed toward the Cinque Terre. While on the road we could see the majestic white mountains of Carrera Marble on the horizon as we headed toward the coast.