December 3, 2014
Two thousand fourteen has been a great year for Adagio Travel. The business grew substantially, proving again that Italy-lovers are seemingly immune to economic dips and continue to seek new and fascinating corners of the Bel Paese. Along with wonderful travel companion and chef extraordinaire Susan Eckis, we’ve perfected the Amazing Amalfi trip and have all the research done for a dynamic debut of Splendors of Sicily next May! You’ll hear more from us before year-end, but in the meantime, GRAZIE for continuing to believe that Adagio Travel is the best source for “catered journeys for curious souls”!
This fall’s Tuscany East to West trip reintroduced me to Lucca, a city that I had by-passed many times. I’d heard about the magnificent olive oil, jogging around the Renaissance-era city walls (which total about 4 kilometers – a nice little morning passeggiata!), and all the Puccini paraphernalia. But the city never caught my interest like some of its famous neighbors. How many times I’d hiked the trails of Cinque Terre, yet not even a half day had been dedicated to Lucca.
Then I spent some time there a few years ago, and just returned on our Traversing Tuscany tour this past October. I’m so taken with the city now, that I’m changing the Tuscany tour next year to focus on Lucca and its surroundings for the entire week! A city of about 85,000, Lucca is found in the northwestern corner of Tuscany, not far from the Ligurian Sea. It shares with many other Tuscan cities the ancient Etruscan heritage, followed by a period as a Roman colony. Lucca was then passed from noble to noble until in 1160 it became an independent republic, a status it enjoyed for nearly 500 years. Lucca was the second largest Italian city state (after Venice) with a republican constitution to maintain its independence over the years. From 1805-1815 the city was governed by Elisa Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister, whose villa we will read about next week. Lucca joined the Italian republic upon unification in 1860.
Those walls I mentioned above completely encircle the city and are one of Lucca’s most endearing and unusual features. Unlike the walls of most other Italian cities, these have remained intact even after their military importance waned. They serve as Lucca’s promenade and are topped with towering plane, chestnut and holm oak trees, park benches and a running/biking path. Also stunning are the Cathedral of San Martino and the Church of San Michele in Foro and the piazzas of the Amphitheater, Napoleon and San Michele. Don’t forget to visit the Casa Puccini, a music school and small museum across the street from the famous composer’s birthplace. It features the Steinway piano on which he composed “Turandot.”
Our phenomenal guide Tiziano can show you the wonders of Lucca like no one else! Tiziano is also a trekking guide, so we’ll enjoy his company in the Tuscan countryside as well. If you’d like to join our mid-June or late September 2015 Tuscany trip, contact Adagio.