We are in Pescia in a Villa Vezzani somewhere near even smaller Collodi. We added this village into our itinerary, because we thought that there is a link exist between Collodi the village and Collidi the author of Pinocchio. There are none.
We woke up at 7:30 and took a quick walk around the villa. We contemplated the sun and the eternal summer. We slept with all three windows wide open (second floor) and did not have any bites from insects. Temperature has never fallen to a chilly level, just comfortable.
|Rise and shine|
|Pescia – Villa Vezzani
Where is Juliaetta on the balcony?
|This was our fist experience to live in an old villa. All the details are fantastically intricate|
Today will be another hot day – 39°C in Florence and 34°C in Lucca. Right now (10:57) we are gathering our things. Lira just killed a mosquito in the bathroom, who tried to bite her in the very private place.
We are still in the room and about to start for Lucca now (11:10). Around 11:23 we paid for the stay and took off for Lucca. Odometer showed 9,835. We had only a few kilometers to go today, but we moved slowly.
|Narrow (even for pedestrians) streets go up and up from the Pirate ship wreck with a Treasure Chest||When you at the top of the hill, you will find lots of surprises. We did not dare to look inside.|
First, we returned to Collodi, and climbed on the car to the top, where the road ends (11:44). And we got a chance to explore a car-free hill section of Collodi. There are no tourists around. We are the only ones. In addition to a peaceful life of narrow slanted passes and streets, there are two themes for the sake of visitors: pirates and Indians. Exploration unfolds from a pirate ship and treasury chest at the bottom, through living quarters and up, up, up to the fortress and Wild, wild West theme. We spent here only half an hour (12:18), but did not see a single tourist – only a few local doing their everyday business. Perfect for pictures, perfect for memories.
We replenished out food stores in a supermarket Esselunga on Via Pesciatina in Capannori (€18.65 – 13:35). Among slightly unusual thing we bough here were a small bottle of olive oil (€0.99) and deodorant roll-on dispenser, that I could not find in US (€1.89). We ate the watermelon right in the car. This time used plastic knifes. And I already start thinking about the first refueling for the car. We stopped at closed bars for food (Pizzeria da Stalin) and at gas stations with no attendance for gas (14:13). Only around 3PM we parked near Lucca. First we parked at a free parking lot (Piazzale Don Franco), but then I moved closer to a paid parking near the city walls, and entered the city through Porta San Donato (15:25).
|Today we only have to drive 20 km.
This was on of the shortest runs.
|Capannori – just a few minutes from Collodi – local curiosity – Pizzeria da Stalin|
Despite inopportune time, bars were open, and we had lunch at Gabry Café (Piazza S. Salvatore, 9 – €17.50) around 16:15 almost on the main square. Few yards away Lira ordered an excellent fresh pulp mix of fruits and vegetables (centrifugati – €3). Another few miters away, and we found a house, where Puccini was born and spent first 32 years of his life.
On the same square we even found a place that sells soy ice-cream, but they had to bring it from the back room (La gelateria Santini – €2 – 17:08). All other seductive trays upfront only had milk selection.
|Lucca – Giacomo Puccini lived here from 1858 till 1880||Puccini spent first 32 year here in Lucca. All the restaurants on the square are called after his writings.|
I noticed that my 2-hour paid parking is close to expiring, and I went to take care of the car, and Lira continued to stroll on the streets of Lucca. We had a special procedure defined in details back in Boston – what to do, if we get lost. Lira did not have her phone with her in Italy, and I did not want to participate in a $1.29 per-minute scam from my phone company. So we had to come up with something else. It was set for the first 5 minutes, we are to try to locate each other in the last place we saw each other. Next is to return to the car or to a hotel room (witch ever is closer). And finally, if everything else fails, we should try to find a free Internet and use email to identify each other’s location. The procedure was in place, but we did not get a chance to use it.
I paid another €4 (17:16) till 10AM next day, and checked out the Tourist Info (hotel list) and bike rental (€3 per hour, €19 per 24 hour period).
Official city hotel list had only 2 hotels under €100 inside the walls. So we used iPhone Google maps and searched for word “Hotel” in the maps. Among other choices it returned “Rest in Lucca” place close to our current position. We went to check it out and the setting was very similar to our experience in Genoa. I picked up a free Wi-Fi in the lobby and call the number to inquire over the Skype. “Where you are calling from?” – They speak English – good! – “I am calling from the lobby of your hotel”. A man’s voice advised me to wait 5 minutes, and he will be right there.
This was all good. First floor was just a lobby, and apartments were located on every floor above. We took a room in a two bedroom apartment, but we were the only clients in it. Room did not have A/C (only fans), but this was a perfect and convenient setting with an entire kitchen and all other conveniences (€65 cash).
We brought the car inside the city walls without violating any traffic restriction rules (TLZ), and hotel owner showed us an unmarked place, were we didn’t have to pay at all. He was using every opportunity to circle around on his bike every spare moment away from his desk. Very, very good memories – highly recommended!
|Lucca – one of the not so touristy places to visit.
Entering through Porta San Donato
|Lucca – Main square – main church – Chiesa di S.Michele in Foro|
Instead of blind wondering for food, Lira suggested to use Trip Advisor application to search for the best restaurant in town. Application allows filtering results by kitchen (American, Thai etc.), by proximity to current location and by price range. The very top choice as usual was closed for holidays, but the second one was open (Osteria San Giorgio – Via San Giorgio, 26), and they had a table for us.
Using customer reviews and wild smell after arrival of dishes to other tables, we ordered quarter of a litter of red wine, two salads and one main course (pasta with seafood). The total was €30 on MasterCard (22:13). This pasta with seafood turned out to be the most memorable meal of the entire trip. We even started to imitate the recipe in our own kitchen in Boston.
Few steps away we found a hostel that was on my list, but it looked as if it was located on a very edge of the city – Ostello San Frediano. No, it was in the middle of things. We found a large spacious lobby with plenty of tables for people to congregate. It has brochure stands with maps, and information, and even brief description of main Puccini’s operas. This is a very bright agile spot with a price of only €20 per person for a dorm bed (available), or €65 for a private room (sold out).
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- Italy 2012 August - Roma, Firenze, Napoli and between (2018/04/19)
- Aug 10-11 FRI-SAT - A two-day flight to Rome (2018/04/23)
- Aug 12 SUN - First steps in Rome - Pantheon (2018/04/27)
- Aug 13 MON - Vatican (2018/05/01)
- Aug 14 TUE - Colosseum (2018/05/05)
- Aug 15 WED - Getting the car - Starting North - Viterbo (2018/05/09)
- Aug 16 THU - Bagnoregio in Lazio, Orvieto in Umbria (2018/05/13)
- Aug 17 FRI - Orvieto - Montepulciano - Siena (2018/05/17)
- Aug 18 SAT - Siena - Villa Galileo - Firenze - Day 1 (2018/05/21)
- Aug 19 SUN - Firenze - Day 2 - Uffizi Gallery (2018/05/25)
- Aug 20 MON - Firenze (Day 3) - Collodi (2018/05/29)
- Aug 21 TUE - From Pescia to Lucca (2018/06/02)
- Aug 22 WED - Lucca (Toscana) - La Spezia (Liguria) (2018/06/06)
- Aug 23 THU - Cinque Terra [... in progress ...] (2018/06/10)
- Aug 24 FRI - Torre del Lago Puccini - Pisa and Agriturismo (2018/06/14)
- Aug 25 SAT - Agriturismo in Pitigliano [... in progress ...] (2018/06/18)