September 04, 2017 - Lucca and Pisa, Tuscany, Culture
Lucca is a graceful city with the elegant air of a long, comfortable and distinctive history. Pisa, known to the World because of its famous leaning tower and Campo Santo, has so much more to offer the traveller.
One of Tuscany’s elegant capitals, Lucca
is a patchwork of palazzi, towers and Romanesque facades. It is
sheltered by thick Renaissance walls that were happily never used for
defense and that now offer residents and visitors an exceptional place
to stroll. Only half an hour from the Tyrrhenian Sea and the shores of
Lake Massaciuccoli, it is one of Italy’s medieval treasures, with an
unspoilt centre graced with palaces, towers and over 60 churches.
Many of the villas in the hills surrounding Lucca such as Villa
Mansi, Villa Torrigiani and Villa Reale, are now open to the public.
They have magnificent gardens, rococo facades, fine painting and famous
guest lists from an era when visitors like Paganini, John Singer Sargent
and Matternich all found rich reception and perhaps inspiration in
their halls and gardens.
Torre del Lago, lies between the Lake of Massaciuccoli and the Tyrrhenian Sea and is home to the Puccini Opera Festival
(in July and August). It is a favourite destination for opera lovers
and tourists who wish to visit the places where Puccini, the most
beloved composer of the 20th century lived. The Festival welcomes about
40.000 spectators every year to its open-air theatre.
known to the World because of its famous leaning tower and Campo Santo,
has very much to offer the traveller. Settled since at least 1000 BC.
it was an important Etruscan town which expanded further under Roman
rule. Pisa not only has the beautiful and extraordinary Campo Santo with
the baptistery and leaning tower, it also has masses of stuff to visit –
several churches and bridges over the Arno river.
One of the most important landmarks of Pisa is the Knights’ Square
(Piazza dei Cavalieri) with the Palazzo della Carovana and the Chiesa di
Traditionally, the last Sunday of June, the city holds the Gioco del Ponte
a sham fight between two groups representing people living on either
side of the Arno (Tramontana or Mezzogiorno) all dressed in 16-17th
century costumes. Victory goes to the team that conquers the Bridge
(Ponte di Mezzo) by pushing the cart and all the opponents to the
opposite end of the sliding rail. The event also includes a large parade
of all the participants and the Judges.
Every year on the night of the 16th of June the enchantment of the Illuminations of Saint Ranieri
is renewed on the streets running along the river Arno (the so-called
Lungarni). Following an ancient tradition the Pisans celebrate their
patron saint, St. Ranieri, of the following day. There are about
seventy-thousand wax candles which at every edition are meticulously set
in smooth and white glasses and fixed then onto wooden white-painted
frames, modelled in such a way as to exalt the outline of the palaces,
of the bridges, of the churches and of the towers reflecting on the