Five Things to Like in Lucca: Italy update #10


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ONE. The weekly outdoor market in Lucca is the place to buy clothes, shoes, paper towels, toys, produce and just about anything else you need. We strolled and shopped the entire market on a closed street. It was about the length of two football fields and had vendors on both sides.  We bought tablecloths and a bottle opener. At the very end of the market, there was a roast chicken/fried veggie food truck. We couldn’t resist sharing a yummy short skewer of peppers, pork and chicken. Just a few bites each to to prep us for lunch.P1040277

We rambled on through town enjoying the sunshine, stopping to take pictures in the circle of tall buildings built right on top of the old roman amphitheater. Did I tell you there was an entire roman town under Lucca? Much of Italy is built in layers.

The piazza built on top of the old amphitheatre.

The piazza built on top of the old amphitheatre.

TWO.  While window shopping, we saw a weaving shop with the loom right there and gorgeous goods in the window. We went in and stayed for half an hour, chatting with the proprietress/weaver and her miniature Lassie dog. Lucca was the end of the Silk Road way back when so making fine thread, yarn and fabric is a tradition. The loom was loaded with blue and cream silk thread that would become a fine table runner.  It was a beautiful shop and we moved a good bit closer to our duty free limit in there!skeins

THREE.   In 1910 Felice Marche and his family came down from the mountains above Lucca bringing chestnuts and coal with them. They started serving chestnut cakes and red wine on a stone table and never left. Da Felice Pizzeria is still in the same family and in the same spot since 1960. You can stand or sit on the stools at the bar and the middle of the room will be full of people lined up to order at the counter. They spill into the street when it’s busy.

Crispy chickpea crepes, cecina, at Da Francesca.

Crispy chickpea crepes, cecina, at Da Francesca.

Da Felice serves pizza in quarters, halves or whole; savory, crispy, chickpea crepes called cecina; and for dessert, the traditional and slightly sweet chestnut flour cake folded and filled with fresh ricotta. We ordered all of the above with red wine and even managed to snag a couple of stools. Paul polished off half a pizza margherita while I polished off the local specialties.

Chestnut flour crepes filled with lightly sweetened ricotta.

Chestnut flour crepes filled with lightly sweetened ricotta.

We enjoyed watching several families with small children crowd in for warm cecina to ward off the cold and chatted with a South African woman whose husband was a visiting professor at the university in Pisa. Cozy place.

FOUR.  I loved the ceiling of a bedroom chamber at Palazzo Mansi, one of the National Museums in Lucca. The Mansis were a merchant family, another Silk Road connection, and seem to have done well for themselves. The flowers and stone are part of the painting too. The whole thing is supposed to induce sleep. It is so sweet, I think it would.

The bedroom ceiling designed to induce sleep.

The bedroom ceiling designed to induce sleep.

FIVE. Finally, the Boccherini Music School on the piazza facing our apartment building. From the terrace or an open window we heard beautiful music floating through the air. Luigi Boccherini was a composer from Lucca. His work in the 1700′s greatly influenced the development of string quartets and quintets.

Statue of Luigi Boccherini in front of the Boccherini Music School, Lucca.

Statue of Luigi Boccherini in front of the Boccherini Music School, Lucca.