We are reluctant to leave our patch but a bucket list item sits on the agenda. Off we set along the winding road towards Lucca. Hamlets perched on hill tops start to fade and villages begin to mould in to towns. But thankfully, Craig avoided last times road track (click here for our 2015 adventure) Town boundaries blur and eventually we arrive at the hustling city of Lucca. The car park we parked last time is busy with coaches, so we head a couple of streets back to a camper stop. A large secure parking space with barriers and a service point for €10 per day.
Our Bumble paid sosta at Lucca GPS position: N043.839566, E010.488357
We cycle in the couple of kilometres in to the city through the one of the many fort entrances. Priorities in order, we head straight to the church and book our tickets before we enjoy our day in Lucca. We came to Lucca a couple of years ago and I regretted not attending one of the concerts. So this time its a must! This is one of my favourite Italian cities, its like a quaint village on steroids. Cobbled streets, tiny alleys, squares bursts with summer flowers and wafts of stone baked pizza. Shops ooze style and fashion and even the chain brands appear boutique. I just love it.
Shifting floral scents embrace us as the walled city path guides us around the skirts of the city. Families lunch in cafes in the plaza’s or on park benches, sunning themselves to the sound of the Imagine Dragons. Lucca summer festival is about to go wild with its first gig tomorrow night. In the background you can hear the sound team preparing for tomorrow nights concert. We cycle down to the stage and check out the venue. Its brilliant. Open air but small and compact, which will offer a great intimate concert. We check out the performers – Robbie Williams, Rag n Bone, Pet Shop Boys…I love summer concerts and so wish we’d known in advance. (also found out 2 days later that our friend Kevin is on tour with Imagine Dragons – missed out the stage passes, grrrr).
No visit to Lucca would be complete without ricotta ice cream. I sit on the steps of the church of San Michele in Foro and lick my ice cream. Peering up to the exquisite facades of the church is a distraction and melted ice cream dips are relished by the dudes. Refreshed and content, we set off and randomly wander around the streets. Stopping at all the Puccini points in readiness for tonight.
In the evening, I venture off to Lucca’s original cathedral for my bucket list tick. Craig dropped me off on the bike, as he is not too keep on classical music. I walk over to basilica of Santi Giovanni e Reparata and take my seat. I cast my eye around at the tangle of architectural remains, roman villa mosaics, an eighth-century baptistery and ornate ceiling. Everyone is chatting away and shuffling around but at 7.15 you could hear a pin drop.
For rest of the evening I joined another world, spell bound, as I listened to the recitals and arias of Puccini. With pieces from La boheme, Tosca and Madama Butterfly.
A truly wonderful evening and well worth a bucket list place. The concept and delivery was superb, and would suit opera lovers or just music lovers wanting to experience something very special. In the beautiful old church where Puccini attended and performed. An occasion I will not forget in a hurry with great setting, wonderful acoustics and some of the greatest Lucchese voices in the world. All in the town where Puccini was born and lived