July 12, 2014

Cruising the Mediterranean-Day 5 Lucca & Pisa

Next up: Lucca and Pisa. Out of all of the tours we planned, this was one I was the least enthusiastic about. After a little research before our cruise, a lot of what I read had said that Pisa isn’t that great. Having that knowledge, I was hopeful that Lucca would be fun.

The morning started with our very enthusiastic tour guide, Antonia, sharing her excitement for Pisa and especially Lucca. She has clearly done this tour several times, she would be in the middle of telling us about Lucca, and interrupt herself to point out a photo opportunity and even made our bus driver slow down at one point so we could take pictures. I like this lady.

We got into the picturesque Lucca, where our walking tour began. I learned so much from Antonia, she really knows her history. My favorite fun facts about Lucca:
  • Lucca is part of Tuscany.
  • Puccini was born here. His statue includes a cigar in his hand, because he was hardly ever seen without one, having as many as 80 in a single day.
  • The large wall that goes around the old part of the Lucca is 90 feet thick. It was built to protect the city from invaders and was later turned into a park.
  • There used to be an amphitheater, but instead of just tearing it down and building something in its place, the oval shape remains and it’s something of a town center. The marble was recycled and used for a church a few blocks away.
  • Saint Zita was a servant, and would wait for her masters to go to sleep at night, then take the day’s uneaten bread to the homeless. One day, her master caught her and asked what she was doing and she claimed to be delivering flowers and when she opened her apron, the bread was no longer there, and flowers were in its place, it was considered a miracle. Her tomb is actually clear and you can see, somehow (another miracle perhaps?!), her body hasn’t decomposed. I chose not to take any photos of this, it seemed disrespectful, but you can Google Saint Zita if you’d like to see her, it is pretty neat.
  • We enjoyed some Tuscan cuisine for lunch. I had lasagna, Josh opted for some pizza, and they were both pretty tasty! I tried tiramisu gelato; my life will never be the same again.
This really is a beautiful city. Germany friends: it sort of has a Heidelberg feel to it, it’s very quaint. It's not overwhelming like Rome, it has an easy, very friendly pace. Josh's favorite part was having time to walk around on our own, I'd have to agree with him, well, that and the gelato. Really guys, game changer. I hope to return again someday.

 It was about an hour drive to Lucca, Cole napped almost the whole way there. Like this.
 Sunflower fields. I don't know that I had ever seen one before, it is such a simple view, but so beautiful. Another fun fact: the mountains may look snow capped, but it's actually marble.
 Heidi, you asked me if I had seen any mopeds; does this answer your question?! :)
 Puccini with his cigar.
 This is the cathedral of Lucca, the Duomo of San Martino. It has an imperfection: the third arch is not the same size as the other two, the architect ran out of space. Maybe this is where the term "measure twice cut once" started...
 Inside the cathedral of Lucca.
 S. Michele in Foro (St. Michael in the Forum). The church's facade was built first, but they ran out of money, that's why only the first row of arches and columns continue back.
 While we were out shopping. How cute is this place?!
 The Basilica di San Frediano is where you can visit Saint Zita.

Our afternoon would be spent in Pisa. It was like the town knew I wasn’t as jazzed about seeing it as the other places, and began raining harder the closer we got to Pisa. Not to worry, there were a fair amount of peddlers waiting with umbrellas as we stepped off the bus.

We had a decent walk before we reached the Leaning Tower. Antonia told us that in all actuality, all of the buildings are slightly leaning, I hadn't noticed until she pointed it out, but they really are! This is due to the fact that the soil the tower was built on had a sandy texture when it was built. The architects tried to compensate for the lean by tilting the top portion the other direction. It didn’t work. 

I will say the Leaning Tower of Pisa was neat to see, you don’t realize how much it actually leans until you're there in person. I really wanted to take pictures of people doing that weird pose with their hands in the air, but because it was raining, no one was doing it. Shucks. For the record, it stopped raining when we were walking back to the bus. Typical.

 This handsome devil was camera ready! I had to lighten the photo a bit so you could kind of see his face.
 This was the photo I was trying to get, not that that fella didn't bring cheer to the picture :)
Pictured here are the Baptistery of St. John, Pisa Cathedral, and the Leaning Tower.
 A better shot of the Pisa Cathedral. The Leaning Tower is trying to photobomb the cathedral hehe
 You can see the Baptistery is leaning, but the Pisa Cathedral does too, it's just not as noticeable in the picture as it was in person.
 The Torre di Pisa itself.
For anyone that read my blog post a while back from when we visited Paris, you may notice I have a thing for low angle shots. Maybe one day I'll have a whole wall of different monuments from this angle. A girl can dream!

No comments:

Post a Comment