Lucca

Lucca has been my home base for many trips. It is a city large enough to provide attractions and small enough to make personal connections. Many churches and ex-churches dot the city. Favorites include the Duomo of San Martino, San MIchele in Foro, San Frediano which contains the remains of St. Zita, San Paolino, and San Salvatore. The church of San Giovanni is built over Roman ruins and I like to visit the excavations. 

Several towers remain from the time of the silk merchants. Climbing the Guinigi Tower provides amazing views over the city. Piazzas are the social center of the city and they are lined with cafes and restaurants. Lucca is the birthplace of Puccini and music is heard throughout the city from the windows of the various music schools. Nightly concerts are given in San Giovanni. In the summer pop concerts take place in Piazza Napoleone. Buskers can be found here and there.

The city's Etruscan heritage is shown in the city museum in Villa Guinigi and the Roman beginnings can be found in the street layout and the anfiteatro.

The ancient walls are a popular place for recreation, bike riding, walking, and roller blading. 

A major festival each year is the Volto Santo where the evening procession of the Holy Face is carried through the candlelit streets. The winter markets are a wonderful treasure of items and the shop windows are like Advent Calendars revealing themselves slowly over  many days. Lucca streets teem with Superheroes during the Comics Convention. 

One of my favorites activities is attending cooking classes given through the Lucca Italian School as well as their language classes.

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