Old things on walls

If you’re ever in Lucca, see if you can find these two venerable gents just hanging around on residential streets.

Who can tell us something about these two lovely old fellows?



And, for Jane ( and anyone interested in family coats of arms), a stemma.




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Last day surprises

I literally ran into a friend from Venice (well, Mogliano now), as we came around corners near Santa Maria Novella in Florence. What  a lovely surprise to see you, David, and meet your new bike!


I don’t know this wrestler, but we  do know that Clet has been at work again.


On my way to find a place to eat dinner, I stumbled across a museum I’d never seen before. I’ll be there tomorrow when it opens.


And, from the little balcony outside my hotel room, if I stand on tiptoe whilst craning to the left, look what I can see. (No, I don’t mean the forest of TV antennae.)


Brunelleschi’s triumph (Florence)


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The tower with the trees on top

Photo sourced online

Photo sourced online

Once there was a rich merchant family in Lucca, with the surname of Guinigi. The tower they had built in the 1300s still stands and is accessible for a climb to the top, which is crowned with holm oaks. These evergreens can live for a thousand years, which led me to wonder if these are some planted by that family. I forgot to ask, of course! 

This tower is a bigger challenge to ascend than the campanile in Torcello, let me tell you!


Those holes in the walls would have been part of the original construction and may have supported wooden stairs, or the floors of the various levels.


These days you climb steep metal stairs. Up you go, and stop puffing, we haven’t even started.


Luckily, about half way up, there are windows to look out, so you can pretend to be admiring the view whilst catching your breath.

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Here we are at the top. I was surprised to find there is no barrier between you and the thin air, aside from chest-high railing. This gives you a clear view of the surrounding city and country-side. It must be stunning on a cloud free day.


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Yesterday, I saw this headline in the paper: “Invaded by guano Torre Guinigi at risk of degradation.” I can vouch for the fact that there’s a heck of a lot of guano to be seen and tromped in. Do you think the next step might see the upper level and the openings lower down screened off, in the future?



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You’ve got mail

 This Post Office employee in Lucca gets to drive a very excellent, economical (and, let’s not be coy: cute) vehicle. She spotted the very person for whom she had a special delivery item, called out to her and stopped right there on the intersection.


More quickly than I could possibly order a spritz con Campari, the item was signed for and passed to the recipient, and she was on her way again. Brava, signora.


That reminds me, I haven’t had a spritz since I left Venice.


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The Domestic Goddess reports

The apartment I’m in is quite modern, and compact. The owner has used IKEA to advantage, especially in the kitchen.

There is no dishwasher and the storage is rather limited. So here’s how the dishes are dried and stored.

The wet dishes are left to drain on this special mat.


Once they’re semi-dry, they’re put onto this rack, which also acts as the place for storing the crockery until you need it again. Simple, effective. Shut the cupboard doors and off you go to have some fun.


While we’re being all domestic, I’d better tell you about another nice meal I had. (Lucca is proving very tempting, food-wise.)

For starters, I had a delicate cheese soufflé topped with porcini mushrooms. That left me scraping the dish, wishing for more. The next dish was a humble farro soup, which I absolutely adore. Farro is a type of hulled wheat, which can’t be threshed, it might be spelt, emmer or einkorn. I really don’t care, I love it!


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Going under the wall

There are a number places where you can go under/through the  wall that surrounds historical Lucca. Most of these share pedestrian and motorised access.

But this underpass, at Baluardo (bastion) S. Paolino is one that is for pedestrians only.  Is this the sort of place that attracts you, or would you find another place to get to the other side of the wall?









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It’s nice to be retired

You get to meet with your mates for a game of dominoes on the city wall, then go for a quiet drink at the bar before going home to dinner.



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