Monday, November 5, 2012

Last days in Lucca

Although I enjoyed our trips to Firenze, Milano, Pisa, Cinque Terre, and the Tuscan countryside, my heart still belongs to Lucca.

Jeannie and I on the train


Night Life at San Michele Piazza

Andrea (left) owns Cafe del Mercato, seen behind the bar with Giulia

Staff at Cafe del Mercato posing!

With Jeannie and Leslie at a wine tasting

 Scenes in Lucca

The Guinigi Tower is the one of the few remaining towers in Lucca.  Its main characteristic is its hanging garden on the rooftop.  We climbed to the top to see the spectacular views - all 233 steps!!

A view of Lucca from the tower

On the streets:

The people of Lucca love their dogs!  I love how they come along with the family to restaurants, stores and markets!  How about this little pink raincoat?  

Jeannie and I at the local fountain getting our daily fresh water from the Tuscan hills. The water was perfect!  Clean, clear taste!! 

Fresh porcini mushrooms at the open market - right from the Tuscan mountains

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.....everywhere!

One of my favorite hangouts! LOL!

Made a few trips to the tile store!

One of Lucca's craftsman at his shop
We came upon a student march protesting taxes  - peaceful and entertaining!

No day complete without this amazing little concoction.....and always "perfetto"!

Lucca Comics & Games Festival 2012

The festival, held in Lucca from November 1 through 4, is the third most popular comic book and gaming convention in the world. The festival has been held yearly in Lucca since 1966.  In 2011, there were nearly 155,000 visitors at the festival.

Jeannie and I take no prisoners!

The "AVENGERS" arrive to save the day!!

Halo and company

Last Cooking Class

Eva, the chef, returned with her assistant last week for our final cooking class.  She taught us to make yummy parmagiana risotto with sausage and mushrooms, and tiramusu for dessert!! 

Our Special Lucca Amici

Sweet CRISTINA, our language teacher and very good friend.  She also introduced us to the Italian Disco, Don Carlos!  (oh yeah!)

DANIELLE and his never-ending smile was a daily bright spot.  He had a special way of making us feel so welcome!  We miss him already!

The guys at our favorite cafe - "Cafe Puccini"

MASSIMILIANO makes the best cappuccino ever!

But wait.....MARCO makes the best cappuccino ever!
With beautiful ELISA, at our absolute favorite clothing store - "Milano"  

SALVATORE in his fantastic leather shop with all leather goods hand made in Lucca!  Frequented this place way too much!

JUNIA, our regular waitress at "Pult Ristorante" where we often ate.  OMG - if only I could have one more Eggplant Bechamel!

EVA, our cool chef with DANIELLA, the director of Lucca Italian School

We were always given special treatment from FRANCHESCO, who owns our cozy corner bar and ristorante, Vinarkia

Tile and ceramic artist extraordinaire, FABRIZIO

LIZZIE (second from the left), an American from New Hampshire is a student and nanny.  She found her true love in Lucca :)

Tanya Pacini of Lucca Connections was our local contact for all things LUCCA!

Giuseppe, our trusty driver 

And...we can't forget Lucca's favorite son and friend - Puccini!


70 Steps, 70 Days

I can't believe that my 10 weeks in Lucca have now come and gone.  I am so grateful that I have had this amazing opportunity and most of all that I have been able to share this time with my sister Leslie who stayed for a month and my very best amica, Jeannie. I have met wonderful people and have made some new, very special friends.  I was tearful today as I walked up and down the 70 steps that lead in and out of our lovely apartment for the last few times.  I got to know many people who live within the walls of Lucca - our "home away from home". So, the word "bittersweet" pretty much sums it up.  I look forward to returning home to family and friends, but Lucca has gotten "under my skin" and will forever be in my heart.   

Our front door

About 25 of the 70 steps that lead up into our apartment!  Once in, there are another 12 that go up to the kitchen.  Yes,  Jeannie and I had a daily work outs!

Arrivederci Lucca (at least for now).....but who knows what tomorrow will bring!

Until next time, Ciao Ciao!




Surprised at the airport by Susannah, Charlotte, Cam, and Wyatt!

Donna :)