Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 18th & 19th – "On Holiday" in Lovely Lucca

With an overnight stay in Livorno, this was a perfect opportunity to stay a night in our favourite Tuscan town, Lucca. So, we booked a B&B online, hopped on the train, and within an hour we were within Lucca's famous renaissance walls.

We really struck gold with the B&B, "Le Terrazze" – it had only opened a week earlier (so it was priced more keenly than I think it would normally be), it was beautifully decorated and furnished, plus, it was right in the centre of the action, next to Piazza Anfiteatro.

We've been to this atmospheric city many times, so we didn't have much of an agenda – we just wanted to wander its lively streets, peruse its historic churches, potter in its shops, and chow down on some wonderful food. This trip ticked all those boxes, in an atmosphere that felt a world away from the cruising life.

Of course, the one must-do in Lucca is to take a walk around the city walls, which have become a joyful recreational area rather than a defensive shield, as every day they're taken over by cyclists, joggers, dog walkers, speed walkers and slow parambulators (we featured in the last category). The great thing as you walk around those walls, is that you get some wonderful views over the historic city, with its timeless skyline of churches and tall towers – not a modern building in sight.

After a wonderful evening meal and refreshing sleep, we got up early to call in at Pisa on the way back. I don't think that I've seen the splendid Campo de Miracoli looking better – its fabulous ensemble of white buildings were positively glowing in the sunlight, against the intensely blue autumn sky. Of course, the highlight of the lot was the gravity-defying Leaning Tower, which looked as ridiculously off-kilter as ever. Actually, every time I see it in person, it always surprises me how much it's leaning, ready to topple at any point.

This was a really refreshing and enjoyable "mini-break", re-confirming for us that Tuscany is definitely one of our favourite regions in the world.