After our down Rapallo day, we hit the road again yesterday, this time bound for Lucca, described by the guide books as: “a city on the Serchio river in Italy’s Tuscany region. It’s known for the well-preserved Renaissance walls encircling its historic city center and its cobblestone streets. Broad, tree-lined pathways along the tops of these massive 16th- and 17th-century ramparts are popular for strolling and cycling.” In addition, it is Puccini’s birthplace. It’s about 2 1/2 hours southeast of Rapallo.
Carol and I have both been to Tuscany and we were expecting a typical small, hillside, walled town with narrow cobblestone streets that we could see in about an hour. This does not describe Lucca. It is indeed Tuscan and walled, but not small or on a hill. Charming, but not what we expected. Still we spent a lovely afternoon there.
All the guide books suggest renting bikes to explore the town and ramparts. But, thinking it was a much smaller town, we eschewed that idea….next time, we’ll rent bikes….they were everywhere…felt like I was in Oxford.
Just before re entered Piazza Napoleone, which appeared to be the main piazza, lined with caffe’s and restaurants, with booths in the center selling olio di oliva, leather goods and such, we spotted a restaurant with just a few tables on the street. Decided to stop there for lunch. No outside tables were available, but we were seated inside and told that one would be vacated shortly….indeed it was.
I was stumped by the word “enogastronomia”, so Googled it. It means “food and wine tourism” and, in this foodie culture of ours, has become an increasingly important part of Italian tourism and is linked to the “slow food movement.” We all agreed that Carol’s meat stuffed ravioli with ragu sauce won the gold star. We certainly have eaten well on this trip…
We continued our exploration of Lucca and passed this delightful gelateria, though resisted the temptation to indulge.
We took a 3:45 train back to Rapallo, arriving around 6:30. I grabbed a seat by the train door and Carol pointed out that it was reserved for pregnant women…
Leftovers for dinner as tomorrow is our last day before Thad returns to Ohio and Carol and I fly to Paris for the weekend.
Forgot to mention that on the train to Lucca, we had a delightful conversation with 2 young men in our car. They are artists who sell their watercolors in Montorosso during the height of the season. In addition, they have a studio in Genoa and exhibit all over the world. We talked about train passes, the ruination of the Cinque Terre and, eventually, the US election. The more talkative of the two had an interesting perspective on Mr. Trump, but I’m not going to go there….
He gave us his card as they departed….Daniele Lasalandra. I looked at his website last night and his REAL work is nothing like the realistic landscapes of the Cinque Terre he sells to tourists. In fact, difficult to believe they are the same artist!
Although my second sojourn in Rapallo will soon end, I have the weekend in Paris to look forward to before returning to reality. So grateful…..