Lucca, famous for it’s intact Renaissance era city walls, is a small town about an hours train ride from Florence in the Tuscany region. We went there for a day trip to ride our bicycles around the cobble stoned streets of the town and on top of the city walls, which once protected it. We both had a nice time while there, with most of the fun just coming from biking around and stopping at different shops to look inside.
We were also able to test out the city walls, as while waiting at night for the last train back to Florence,I realized I had left my credit card at the restaurant. With only 15 minutes to spare, Michelle & I frantically ran back through the darkness, only to find out that many of the entrances had been closed down for the evening with only 1 or 2 entrances open to allow people in and out of the village. Once inside the walls, we ended up running into a church procession of about 50-100 people. It was like a scene from an old movie (and wouldn’t you know it … the camera battery was dead so we couldn’t film it or photograph), church bells in the distance were ringing, as a group of monks carried incense, chanting while people carried a statue of a Saint grappling for a position to be able to touch it. Those that could not touch the statue were holding candles, that because of the smoke from the incense ‘twinkled’ in the night air, through narrow cobble stoned streets that date back to before 180BC. Anyways, it was a nice touch to the evening that we didn’t really expect ….And we made it back to the train on time.
For you history buffs : Lucca was founded by the Etruscans and became a Roman Colony in 180 BC. Probably it’s most famous resident was Puccini (the composer of LaBoheme & Madame Butterfly). The famous poet, Dante, also spent some of his exile here. In 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte placed his sister as ‘Queen of Etruria’ (Etruria was the region that Lucca was in)and she was Princess of Lucca, before succeeding to Maria Louisa of Spain.