On our bicycles in Lucca

Trip Start May 14, 2012
Trip End Jul 04, 2012

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Thursday, May 31, 2012

One thing that appealed to me about Albergo Celide, our hotel in Lucca, was that they offered bicycles that you could use to roam around the city. Soon after arriving (just before lunch yesterday), we immediately climbed on our bikes and returned five hours later after doing a "quick" tour of this gem of a little Italian city.

It has all you could wish to find crammed into the centre, and all surrounded by imposing walls dating back to the 17th century. Narrow streets paved in stone lead into piazzas large and small, and beautiful churches greet you as you wander through the various lanes and alley ways. There are some fabulous shops, cosy trattorias, bars and restaurants, and art galleries and museums.

For lunch, we bought delicious salami and Parma ham, olives, artichokes, apricots and bread of course, and had our first picnic in one of the parks on the city wall. After some more exploring, we had coffee and beers at Piazza Dell'Anfiteatro which used to be an Amphitheatre in Roman times. The remains of the Amphitheatre are gone and a row of houses now stand in a circle where the spectator stands once used to be.

Last night, we had dinner at Ristorante Celide. There is a photo of my dish below which was a variety of fish done tempura style, heads and all! Anne's choice was less successful, but all washed down with a red from Chianti and a white from somewhere.

Today, we got on our bikes again and spent time taking in some of the top attractions like Tower Guinigi, Palazzo Phanner, Duomo Di San Martino, Piazza San Michele and the shopping street of Via Fillungo. We lingered on Piazza Napoleone for awhile and identified a place to have supper tonight.

You may know that Lucca was the hometown of Puccini and operas are held here regularly. To soak in the atmosphere, we went (on our bikes) to a concert at the Church of San Giovanni tonight to watch "Night of the Opera". This was after stopping at Enoteca Castelo to try out some of the local wines. The concert was a superb experience and we heard arias and duets from Puccini, Verdi and others. 

We decided to have a pizza with a caprese salad for dinner and found a nice place just off Piazza Napoleone. We were a bit worried about whether they had road blocks for cyclists in Lucca but managed to get home safely thanks to Anne's navigation in the dark. She refused to let Sophie intrude.

Best thing was that when we got back to the hotel, Anne said: "Now that was a great day!" She's certainly getting into this.

Lucca has indeed been a great experience all round. Now onto Villa Ducci tomorrow which lies just outside San Gimignano in the heart of Tuscany. There will be lots to explore in the seven days we have there.

Love to Julia and Jenna who are presently writing exams and who we are missing very much. Not too long before we see you in Rome!
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Sandy Harper on

Dear Kevin and Anne,

Your trip looks amazing, and Anne you look fabulous on a bike! I am sure I can also negotiate a bike if the promise of pizza and Chianti is at the end of the road! Our girls only start exams next week. We are going to need a week-end to de-brief all your experiences. Lets work on that, shall we? Lots of love from Mike, Sandy, Megan and Lauren

Alison on

I love this biking blog...it makes for an interesting addition to your journey todate, and so civilised doesn't look like you were in danger of being run down by a car or that you had to navigate too many pedestrians. All together lovely. All in all it seems to be a very health combination of amazing food, plenty fresh air and lots of excercise!

albert on

Hi guys - keep it rolling - loving the news.
BTW Kev, what is that 'white' bandage on the arm - have seen no reference to it!
So now, are you developing any particular bias > French or Italian. Perhaps a 10 point score on a range of 'common' parameters.
My preference is for Tuscany overall - but do tell.
Regards from my view under the mountains and over the vineyards in Robertson - Albert

Moira Bricout on

I am quite sure that if any of your friends have not been to Italy - your blog and the wonderful photos will have them planning to do so. Lucca is a wonderful town and one that we all thought we would love to go back to. You are really making the most of this trip and making some wonderful memories! All the best to you and Anne.

kgleeson on

Thanks Moira. We are enjoying ourselves very much and loving the country side. This place is incredibly scenic as I know you will fondly remember.

kgleeson on

Hi Albert. The story about the bandage is in the latest blog. I am going to hold off on the comparison between Provence and Italy for a little while longer. Initial impression is that they are both stunning, but feeling slightly more laid back in Tuscany.

Duncan & Gillian Marshall on

Dear Anne & Kevin... clearly just another amazing day of the adventures of life.... Once again your pictures are amazing.. Anne... you are in your element... just keep Kevin taking photo's of you & the coutryside!! Lots of love from all of us...

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