Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Lucca Revisited


I may be infatuated with Berlin, but I am in love with Lucca. Berlin is for now, for being young and cutting-edge as I am, but I reserve Lucca for my retirement – a place to dream away the hours, watch the world go by and sip upon magnificent cappucinos. The first time I went to Lucca, I had been married for a mere three years, was not yet in my thirties, had a salary and was able to enjoy its many pleasures on a sophisticated and grown-up level. I fell in love with its red-roofed handsomeness,

its alleyways,

and its soaring towers,

where trees grow.

I enjoyed long, drawn-out, rather drunken lunches with my love (I could mention that my mother and my aunt were also there, but I won’t since that removes the romantic sheen of my story), naps on the wide and grassy city walls, strolls hand-in-hand through the alleyways, shopping in the delightful boutiques and coffee in the magnificent amphitheatre, where I bought a beautiful hat which I immediately put on. We climbed the Tower Guinigi with its roof of oak trees. Lucca was glamorous, relaxed, gorgeous. I felt the same way.

Last week, ten years on from my first visit to Lucca, I went back. Things have changed in ten years. I am still married but now we have three children. Children, however sweet, do not make for long, drawn-out drunken lunches. They do not make for romantic strolls and watching the world go by, nor do they make for public naps. I did not wear a glamorous hat, but a backpack containing nappies and a sippy cup. We went to the amphitheatre but our priority was finding a drink and the loo. We looked at the boutiques from the outside but did not go in since one of our children has it as her life’s purpose to separate us from our money in exchange for tat. We climbed the tower but my vertigo nearly prevented me from making it to the top. We held their hands, and not each other’s.

However, Lucca still held its magic over us. In the amphitheatre we enjoyed an icy granita while watching a ballerina dance and a boy play the violin. We viewed the town together from the top of the Tower Guinigi. We walked the city walls instead of napping there. We glimpsed the lovely restaurant Al’ Olivo where we had had our wonderful lunch. We photographed each other, wearing very big smiles,

and then we went back to Parc Albatros on the San Vincenzo road to prepare for bopping to Italian pop music at the nightly Baby Disco. Because when you have children, that’s what you do.

Lucca promised that she would wait for me.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

12 thoughts on “Lucca Revisited

  1. ‘We held their hands, and not each other’s.’

    That sums it up perfectly – the transition from couple to family.

    I’d love to go back to Lucca. I only visited it fleetingly as it wasn’t on any of the trips that I worked on. Ten years ago I might have been in Siena or Montalcino, or Orvieto but the red rooves, alleyways and towers are very similar to Lucca’s. It seems a world away from here.

  2. Welcome back! I loved the alley way picture. The tower made me dizzy and I’m sitting down!

    ps. you can be my Slumber Mama sidekick any day (night)!

  3. Glad to have you back. I missed you terribly. Your description brings sunny sights and smells right into our living room on this cool and, once again, rainy day.

  4. Sounds amazing… I guess when you are retired, and return to Lucca you can return to the drunken lunches and romantic hand-holding? And then you will probably be nostalgic for the times when your children were small…

  5. Hi Charlotte, I loved Lucca too! We hired bikes and rode around the town walls twice, then went in for gelati. There are some charming shops in Lucca, including the best wine shop in Tuscany (according to our guide book), which we located and with help from the proprieter selected some excellent local wines.

  6. Ah, the old backpack full of nappies and sippy cups, I know it well! Mine is bright pink. Hmmm, I’m also familiar with a small person with fondness for tat. We went to the shops today to get a) a haircut, and b) a lamb chop, and came back with c) a miniature football, and d) a teddy wearing a jersey. Someone was very pleased.

    These photos are amazing. I love the one of the roofs. I want to go to Italy right now! I’ve never been. It looks as if you had a great time.

    Oh ho, I know someone who would like the baby disco too!

  7. Welcome back!

    I love the red roofs and I love the green door and the unexpectedness of the trees on the tower left me giggling. Lucca sounds amazing and I’d love to go there one day, when I return to every place I’ve ever been to and fallen in love with.

  8. Sigh. I loved Lucca when I was there and also felt I could retire there. Of course, I felt that way about every single little spot in Italy I visited.

    I’ve been pressing dh for one big trip before we start trying to have a baby and I think this post just convinced to push even harder…we are trying to decide between going to somewhere in Europe or staying responsibly in the states – after reading this I think I know the answer.

  9. Lovely pictures, and made me very wistful for my time spent in Florence and Siena. Those red roofs on the pictures take me back straightaway to the sights, sounds, smells..the whole sensory experience.

    Very evocative words too.

    Thank you, and welcome back!

  10. So glad you are back and had a wonderful time!

    Funny how those red tile roofs, rounded green hills, and wide blue sky remind me of my hometown in Southern California. There’s a similar climate, but certainly a very different culture. I think I’d like Lucca better.

  11. Pingback: Life as usual with the occasional flashback. « epossums

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