Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trip to Lucca, Tuscany, Italy (July 2017)

Lucca was a pleasant surprise. I did not know anything about Lucca and I did not expect to find this charming city so attractive.

Lucca is built within surrounding medieval walls built in the 16th and 17th century. Since it was built after the gun powder was introduced, the city wall was made of dirt rather than stones. Gun powder caused the change. Cannon balls could easily destroy the stone walls, but dirt walls can absorb the shock and impact.

The structure was also quite innovative. On top of the walls, there are pathways that are as wide as four-lane streets, called Le Mura. Now the pathways are used for strolling, running or cycling. It is now a public park for the residents. Also, there is an underground pass within the walls so that people could move around even during the battles.

We saw a residence for a noble family, which looked like a small park or garden.

There are quite a number of interesting landmarks and many churches in the city.

Piazza Antiteatro
Multiple layers of construction materials

In the town, we saw several church buildings

Basicila de St Ferdiano

Also, the composer Puccine is from Lucca and his residence, Casa di Puccini is now a museum.

Lucca has been holding an international music festival in the summer regularly for the past 20 years. It did not appear to be able to hold a large crowd; nonetheless, it is the fact.

At St. Martin Cathedral, four seasons were depicted through carvings on the wall. It was quite interesting. I would not have figured it out without the local guide's explanation.

There are a few towers and I decided to climb up Terre Guinigi. As explained before, the rich people were building their tower houses in order to overpower other towers. But to prevent any worsening of the unnecessary rivalry, they established the maximum height of the brick buildings. Their greed to overpower others could not be contained. So, some built a garden on the roof and planted oak trees to circumvent the maximum height established for brick towers. By the height of the oak trees, the owner was able to claim that he overpowered others. Torre Guinigi was the one that still has the garden on the roof and 7 oak trees. Nonsense...

On the way up to the roof, I found many paintings related to Pinocchio as appears in the children's fairy tale, the Adventure of Pinocchio. This book was written by Carlos Collodi, an Italian writer who is from the Dutcy of Tuscany. No wonder Pinocchio's painting were everywhere.

The Church of St Michel had a statue of Michael, the arch angel, at the top, overlooking the city.

In the plaza, there were interesting statues and mime entertainers.

The outside the walled city was also a park where people can stroll or cycle. It looked quite peaceful to see people pass by on bicycles.

We were fortunate to discover this charming city, Lucca. - Jeffrey

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