Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lucca, Italy

 I wish.
Had we known that the first place we visited in Lucca had bicycle rides available, I doubt I would have gone on a walking tour.
 The cyclists toured the walls (ramparts) surrounding Lucca.
The ancient city walls completely surround the city of Lucca and were built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Although they were originally intended to keep out invaders, the ramparts currently help to keep our vehicles (as we will shortly see). Thus, Lucca is a pedestrian friendly community.
 The Via Fillungo is the main street in Lucca. The streets in the ancient days did not envision 350's roaring through the streets. (Maybe a chariot but not a truck). 
 Shortly into the city we came upon the statue of Giacomo Puccini. Puccini's statue is in front of his December 1856 birthplace. He was an Italian composer whose operas are frequently performed all over the world. Puccini is said to the be "the greatest composer of Italian opera after Verdi". Ever heard of La Boheme?
 Down another narrow street, we approached the basilica: San Michele in Foro.
 The church is in the center of Lucca and is located on the land that once was a Roman Forum. 
The church is dedicated to Archangel Michael shown above flanked by two angels.
On the lower corner of the facade is a statue of the Madonna sculpted to celebrate the end of the 1476 plague. (Not the same plague that inspired the Oberammergau Passion Play).
Approaching the Torre Guinigi.
 The Torre Guinigi is the famous tower with a tree on top. It is part of the ramparts that circle the old city with a three-mile circumference and on top is the park where we started the tour.  
It is said, but I can't personally verify, that there are 230 steps to the top of the tower.
 Present day buildings utilize the foundations of Roman structures.
Tunnel entrance to the Piazza della Anfiteatro. 
 The Piazza della Anfiteatro is a large circular piazza. It was once the site of an ancient Roman Amphitheater where gladiators and beasts engaged in mortal combat. Today, the piazza features outdoor restaurants and cafes. (It also has a large free public restroom). Keep that in mind when you visit Lucca.
"Just a few steps" away from the Piazza is the Basilica di San Frediano. San Frediano is among Lucca's most ancient churches and was built in the 6th century by the bishop Frediano. A crypt with the body of San Frediano was added to the church at the end of the 8th century.  
 The mosaic above represents The Ascension of Christ the Savior with the apostles below. The Madonna was portrayed in the center, but her image was cut away to open the single-light window below Christ.
 Yep, I was there.
 On the coach ride back to the port, we passed some outstanding scenery. Whereas the mountain is nice, look closely at the car. He is passing two cyclists. Go riders!!
 Sun flower fields.
 Must have been a nursery as I can't see harvesting this crop. I recognize the Italian Cypress as we have them all over Texas.
 After boarding the ship, I looked down from our balcony.
 Police dogs were sniffing our food containers. Thankfully, I never saw a dog "alert" at a crate so I guess we were OK.
Let's go to the other side of the ship and think of more pleasant things; like heading to Monte Carlo tonight.

No comments:

Post a Comment