Meandering in Lucca: Italy update #5

It’s Monday and we aim to find one of the three tourist info offices in Lucca. We started at “our” bar but today was its closing day so we moved on. Every business chooses a closing day in Italy so you have to check before you plan to go. In Lucca, at least a third of the shops and restaurants seemed to be closed on Monday. Many of the big churches were closed too.  I guess the priests are worn out from Sunday! From the signs we’ve seen, it looks like Wednesday is a popular closing day too.

It was almost was 11 and we’d skipped breakfast so found a bar down the street for cappuccino and a couple of small sandwiches that cost just a Euro each. Perfect snack to hold us until lunch around 2 and very tasty. We found tourist office #1 but it was closed for winter, so we continued on to #2. Unfortunately it was closed too, but had a sign directing us to the open office.

Paolo's pizza craving answered!

Paolo’s pizza craving answered!

Our philosophy about Italy is to enjoy every minute. We don’t mind the wrong turns, afternoon shop closings or closed tourist offices because we love just being there. So we kept strolling, enjoying the sun, people, cats and dogs. Although every dog had on a designer coat, we left ours behind choosing vests, sweaters, cameras and my scarf of course instead.  Women in Italy wear scarves all the time and I brought a bunch so that I could blend in. We got lucky at the third tourist info office receiving advice on the museums and monuments in Lucca and the best way to get to Florence. Turns out both bus and train will deposit us at the same convenient spot in Firenze but the bus is faster, about 45 minutes, because it is direct.

Mission accomplished we headed down the main east-west street across town in search of pizza and a bean store I had read about months before. Paolo has been pizza-less for 48 hours and beans are my weakness. There’s a store somewhere in town that has all the wonderful varieties of dried Italian ones that are hard to come by back home. I brought an extra suitcase and it will be filled with food when we leave. I think I get my beanaholic condition from my Dad who loves them too. Friend Barbara Swell, , tells me the Sorana bean smells like bacon when it cooks. Is that dreamy or what? I must find them! The bean store eludes us so far but we won’t give up.

Many of the pizzerias seem to be closed so we duck into a trattoria called GiGi on the Piazza Carmine that was on my list. Two bites into our salads we’d forgotten all about pizza. For the main course, I had a thin veal cutlet lightly breaded and sautéed, covered with a fresh tomato sauce with capers. Paolo had rigatoni with a ground veal/beef ragu, probably veal and beef. He started out with water but switched to vino rosso once he tasted the melt in your mouth ragu. From now on you can assume that we have wine with meals. That will save lots of typing. GiGi is cozy and welcoming and good. We lingered and enjoyed every bite. IMG_1295The bench just outside Trattoria GiGi in Lucca.

A quick stop at the all day market and we were back home resting our tootsies after four hours of walking on cobblestones. We toyed with the idea of using the washing machine down the hall, but since that required standing up, it never happened.

About 8 p.m. we returned to Drogheria (see update #2) to resolve Paolo’s pizza craving. I had it too by then. We started with prosecco and paper thin slices of bresaola with arugula and Parmesan shards then moved on to pizza.  Copy this into your browser for more info on the antipasti.
Pizza fix satisfied, the day can end.