Embedded within Toscana, there is Lucca.
I’m post-Pilates workout on the uptown 1 train writing this. I just finished a quit pit stop at Eataly and I’m indulging on a cold Chinotto. This is a different drink with a special flavor that is hard to describe. I remember trying the sister drink, a Lemon Gazzosa the first time I was in Genoa. I was immediately hooked and acted like a kid in a candy store when I discovered that I could find this back in NYC!
I’m itching to tell you more about one of my favorite discoveries in Italia and that is the little city of Lucca. I only had the chance to spend one day in Lucca with Roberto and two friends, and I’m already looking forward to going back. Nostalgia is real.
The city is located in the region of Tuscany and is surrounded by tall walls (which it is famous for). You can certainly walk on top of these walls, but one of the best ways to see everything is by bike. Now, I will say that it has been about 5 or 6 years since I rode a bike…but I managed and that skill came back to me quicker than I thought. The best part, the lovely
annoying bell that we rang down every vicolo (small street where there are no cars) we went down. If anyone was trying to take an afternoon nap at that time, I fully apologize for relishing in my childhood memories of bike riding.
While riding bikes through many vicoli (plural form of vicolo), you start to become immersed in this little world behind the walls. I saw postcards come to life before my eyes. This was a part of Italia that I had only dreamed about and it exists. Every building fits together so perfectly, yet each one is distinct. The cracks and crevices have unique character and my mind begins to wander to Lucca’s rich past.
For pranzo (lunch), we stopped at a little meat shop where they sliced fresh “cold cuts” (how we describe it in America) right before my eyes. The best part, how incredibly fresh it was. I chose the finnochiona (a type of salami with fennel) and a fresh roll of bread. It cost me about €3 and no condiments necessary. My goodness, I’m still salivating at the thought of that simple combination.
One can’t complete a trip to Lucca without some gelato, for this we went to the Carrefour (Italy’s version of Walgreens) and picked up a 4 pack of drumsticks. The cost was less than €1 each and we had just enough room to top it all off with an espresso (caffè) at the bar.
After indulging in the sweets, it was time to climb the clock tower to get a bird eye view of this very old city. Now when I say climb, I mean fire up those glutes for walking MANY narrow wooden stairs – not to mention my Converse had minimal support (but I still love them). Once at the top, the view is breathtaking. It was overwhelming for me in a goosebumps type of way, which also contributed to the inspiration of my site.
What a hidden gem of a city. When my co-workers tell me that they want to visit Italy, I always include Lucca as a must-see spot. I would say that between lunch and the bike ride, the trip to Lucca was at about €15 for the day, per person. Low in cost, rich in history, and full of love.
Con un sorriso e un suono di campanella (with a smile and the sound of a bicycle bell),