Charlie: We decided we didn’t want to go to Siena as originally planned (see previous post). We had heard good things about Lucca as an under-appreciated city to visit and there was a NY Times travel article about it. It turned out to be a good choice.
Lucca is fairly large, about 80,000, but the Old City is small enough to walk around it. Since it is not one of those damn hill towns, all the streets are flat and people ride bicycles a lot. We see bicycles parked all over, usually old ones, since they are just used to get around the city. This means there are fewer cars. The whole feel of the city is calm and we love to just walk around. Despite not being a hill town they do have a wall, but, since they are not a hill town, they have more space so the wall is a standard 20-foot wall on the outside but on the inside is a large berm the height of the wall and 40 feet wide. There is a biking and walking path all around the wall, which is 2.5 miles around, and there is a large green space area all around the outside of the wall. It is quite pleasant to walk around the wall and see the city. We rented a tandem bicycle and biked around the wall this morning.
Lucca has some impressive churches and is filled with lovely piazzas. Here is the facade of the Duomo:
and an interesting circular piazza:
Market in Lucca:
Grass chair and table at the market:
And Lucca even has Old Charlie:
We have a nice little hotel (Albergo San Martino) which has eight rooms, six double and two suites, that was just remodeled, just remodeled, they finished last week. In fact, we checked into a room with no shutters and when we got back from lunch it did have shutters, newly installed. The Michelin guide said the staff is young and energetic and they are, and they speak English (and French and German) and are very nice. The rooms are in a yellow-orange theme and are quite pretty. The breakfast is quite good and visually appealing with the same orange theme in the dishes.
Bathroom of our first room
Bathroom of our second room