18 luglio 2009

Pisa & Lucca, Italia

Pisa Lucca, Italia - I have to admit that the Lucchese in me has very little desire to write anything about Pisa. The Pisani built a tower - poorly, it leans now, and they don't want to correct it for fear of losing tourists. Now, I will admit that the Campo dei Miracoli is pretty spectacular in terms of architecture, but in the end it's just a tower.

Like I said, I am not the one who should be describing the city of Pisa. So instead I will go straight to the meat of today's travels - Lucca. What an amazing town, but then again, I may be biased. Our morning began with the token quick trip to Pisa where all the girls were able to take their token leaning tower photos before we were on our way again, this time to Lucca, were we had a reception with the Assoc. Lucchese del Mondo, where the girls prepared a lovely song, and then it was off for a lovely lunch at a mensa.

Lucca as a city still lies within its intact Renaissance-era walls. Birthplace of opera legend Puccini, this quite gem of a town still shows its historical charm with its partial amphitheater dating back to the Etruscans, its many towers boasting the stories of rival families, and over 100 churches which are prime examples of architecture from the Roman period onwards. But it's true beauty lies on its walls. Locals still use the walls as their private running track and the perfect shaded passage to walk dogs or go cycling. Renting a bike and cycling the walls of Lucca gives any viewer a beautiful tour of Lucca - its Basilica, the towers battling each other in height across the skyline, and a glimpse at the various open-air markets of antiques and clothing.

Nella Fantasia - Canzone Assoc. Lucchesi del Mondo

After lunch, the rest of the afternoon was free time to explore the world within the walls of Lucca. After a pleasant stroll from lunch to the center of town, I took the opportunity to slip away from the group for the evening and visit my friend, Cristiana, in Viareggio, a small hip beach town just 20 minutes away.

My little excursion was filled with nostalgic moments: buying my tickets to get to Viareggio and back to Firenze, sitting comfortably in the TrenItalia blue 2nd class seats, and listening to the musical melody of the trains as they fly by the each other and pull away from each station after the token whistle.

Likewise, being in Viareggio was filled with memories - as I waited to be picked up from the station I looked around at the bikes, chuckling at the adventures we had the summer of 2007. And across the street I could see Binariozero where we enjoyed a sweet espresso many times. I enjoyed being in Viareggio again - the beach air was sweet and enticing, the passeggiata still full of life and excitement. We sat at the beach reminiscing about the past, catching up, and planning for later trips this month when we can meet up again. It was nice to see a good friend and hang out with her pretty awesome family. And it was extremely amusing to hear the struggles of purchasing a new telefonino with Wind and the current dilemma with the semi-professional soccer player's infatuation.

Dinner was lovely and now we're about ready to go stroll the passeggiata with the rest of Cristiana's family and enjoy some gelato and other treats. Oh how I love the Italian lifestyle. So until tomorrow and Siena, travel on.

Viareggio, Hotel Giulia beach

-- post made from iPaolo

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