Day 13 (Tue, May 15): Lucca, Free Afternoon, Farewell Cocktail and Dinner

Lucca: 16.8 miles, 19 minutes

Comune di LuccaProvincia di Lucca
Province Lucca (PT)
Elevation 19 m
Area 185 km²
Population ('04) 85,984
Density 463/km²
Time zone CET, UTC+1
Coordinates 44°42' 10°38'
Dialing code 0583
Postal code 55110
Patron St. Paulinus, 12 Jul

Today we visited Lucca, and the rainy weather returned. Actually, our guided tour of Lucca took place in dry weather. But almost the moment our free time began, so did the rain. Karen and I dived for the nearest caffé and sat out the worst of it.

Puccini House

Puccini closeup, cigarette and all

our guide, Linda Lorenzetti

San Michele in Foro (by the Forum)

the group in Piazza S. Michele

Palazzo Ducale, Pza. Napoleone

Duomo S Martino

Torre dei Guinigi

Piazza dell'Anfiteatro

il mio amico dell'Anfiteatro

San Ferdiano

il bambino della Trattoria

We need to come up with a better strategy for these free time stretches, especially when we're stuck somewhere like Lucca. Unlike most American, apparently, we have little or no desire to shop. Karen doesn't mind wandering around looking at buildings, but I don't get much out of that with my vision. We would have liked to go to the National Museum to look at Etruscan, Ligurian and Roman exhbitis, but we couldn't figure out how to get there from the map we were given. We think in future we'll have to plan ahead a little, decide what we want to do and get help from our tour guides about how to do it.

We had lunch at Trattoria Da Leo with the group. Fine food, but we've all been spoiled by the really great food at the hotel. It was a family-run affair -- crowded, loud, casual, lots of shouting by the staff -- made all the more delightful by a baby whose antics held the room in thrall. Had more free time after lunch, so we found our way to the wall around the city, walked a bit, then sat and watched people and dogs and a Police Penitentiary van go by.

This evening we had a little party before dinner to say goodbye. We were especially sorry to bid farewell to Ivan, the head of the dining room staff, who had great fun with me, calling me "Don Eduardo" and singing at least the first line of several opera duets together then faking the rest. His method of giving guests the bum's rush from the restaurant, when we sat around blabbing long after the dishes had been cleared, was to come by singing about how nice and warm the evening was outside.

We didn't sit outside this evening because the weather really had turned too cool and breezy for that. Before 7:00 we had put our big suitcases outside the room for pick up by Adriano, the general factotum. I had made friends with him, too, during the early mornings when he tended to the courtyard and its lovely mulberry trees and other plants.

We're both curious to see who among the group we keep up contact with. Everyone was very nice and fun to visit with.