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Lucca Travel Blog

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Pisa,River Arno

Did this trip back in October 2006

Had planned on going over to go to game, but with the date of the fixture with Livorno worked in that the kids were off for their October holiday so we decided to make a holiday of it. Spoke to my mate, who does a fair bit of work over there, and he pointed us in the direction of Lucca as the place to stay, as it was where he did when he was working there, and a fair indication was that he would be joining us.

Easy to get to from Glasgow. Ryanair run direct flight from Glasgow Prestwick to Pisa.

Leaning Tower
Arriving a t Pisa airport the train into town centre runs from the end of the terminal building and takes only 10 minutes. Once there we had to change platforms and get train to Lucca which was another 20 minutes.

Had decided for tha four of us that we would rent an apartment and the owner met us at the station with his car and drove us to it. After getting ourselves organised it was time to go out and explore. Lucca is small and compact, but with lots of lanes to wander down and come across nice little squares. After a wander we decided to haed back to the apartment and get changed before dinner, as being October it was a bit chilly in the evening. Went  down to one of the bigger squares, the Piazza Napoleone, and found a restaurant near the theatre to have dinner.

Duomo
Had an early night after day of travelling.

Next morning we were up and out after breakfast and headed into Pisa. Coming into Pisa from Lucca we noticed the tower on our left clost to the University station. There really isn't much you can say about the city Pisa itself , it's fairly unremarkable and not the most attractive of places. Decided to walk up to the tower and it took about 30 minutes from where we were.

Up round the tower it bacame very congested and lots of hawkers flogging all sorts of rubbish. oce inside the walls though the tower and the other buildings looked great, especially on a nice suny day. Nice as it was though, didn't reckon it was worth the €15 to climb up it. Once we had had enough we set off and found a Gelateria and bought some lovely ice creams.

Tower,up close
No sooner out the shop when my sons landed on the pavement and I was forced to give up mine. I had been so looking forward to it as well. 

Didn't even bother going back into Pisa, instead heading in the direction of the University and got the train back to Lucca from there. After coming out of the station we wandered up along the top of the wall to find the street where we were staying and after going back to get jackets headed off for dinner. Decided on restaurant closer to apartment this time, though after dinner went for a stroll through the town where even for the time of year restaurants were still mobbed. Nice thing about Lucca is it is so narrow there is restricted access for cars, so you can safely walk along the roads though a few cyclists are still a danger.

Wednesday morning we had decided to head for Florence, about an hour by train from Lucca.

Street where we stayed
Found on arriving that the area around the station was a bit chaotic, and no real directional signs to any of the attractions. Just had to rely on instinct and headed down the way. Decided to find the Galleria Del Academia to see the Statue Of David, only to find on getting there that it was closed on Wednesdays. Not put off we walked through the town and found the cathedral , which for directions wa practically impossible to see from street level as it is in a tight little square surrounded by other buildings. It really is quite stunning, in what it is made of, and doesn't look like the normal grim grey cathedrals you see elsewhere.

Headed down to the river and, came upon the Piazza Signoria, a square full of statues, that included a copy of the Statue of David.

View out of apartment
 Here we went into the Palazzio Vecchio, that turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Back out in the square and we headed down a street to the Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in Europe. Cheapskates that we are we tagged on to an American tour and listened to the guide doing the history of it all, including the fact that even the Nazi's as they were retreating and blowing up all the bridges over the River Arno wouldn't destroy this one, instead blowing up the buildings at each side of it to block it. Was in contact with my mate now who was going to meet us in Lucca that evening and we headed for the train station. Unfortunately the trains were running late and we took 2 hours to get back.

Met Gordon in the Piazza Napoleone and with him knowing the place far better than us took his reccomendation for dinner and went to a wee place just at the back of the Piazza San Michelle.

Apartment
Result was Gordon paying for meal as he would write it offf to a business meeting ;-)

Thursday Gordon still had a bit of work to do at his hotel, so we went around Lucca again in the morning, up to the ampitheatre and climbing the strange tower that has the tree growing ou the top of it. Gordon and I were going to go to the game in Livorono, and the resst of my mates had phoned to say they were being diverted int Pisa for the day, rather than going straight to Livorno. Janice and the kids hired bikes for the afternoon and were going to spend the time cycling roung the top of the wall.

Gordon had  car with him, as he had it for work , and we drove into Pisa and found the rest of the guys up at the leaning tower. Found a bar and had a few beers, but as we walked about the skys opened and there was torrential rain.

Florence Cathedral
By 4pm we had completely given up on trying to stay dry. The boys had to head back into the centre of Pisa to get their buses and Gordon and I set off on the road down to Livorno, a port on the coast, where most of the cruise ships will dock for trips to Pisa and Florence.

Not much to the town, but we found a cafe to have some dinner nad headed round to the gound. Rangers won the game 3-2 in the end , but the abiding memory for most who were there is that it has to be about the wettest night any of us have spent watching a game. Obviously some of the locals were well used to it, as a look round the home support found many of them wearing fishermans oilskins.

Drove back to Lucca after the match and went abck to Gordons hotel for a beer. I kicked off my boots and socks to try and dry out beside the fire and took a photo on my phone of my feet up on the table,next to the fir with a beer sitting beside them.

Cathedral Tower
Meanwhile the  guys on their way back to Glasgow were stuck at Pisa airport , hwere all the shops and cafes had shut down for the night and all they had access to were the vending machines.

Friday and it was time to head for home. Had breakfast and walked the 10 minutes to the station and easily transferred onto the airport train at Pisa Central.

Summary - Leaning Tower in Pisa worth going to, but nothing else in Pisa. Florence is a great place for culture and is awsome. Lucca is a great wee town, away from the hustle and bustle, to base yourself and indeed Gordon and I would a couple of years later when we went back again  

 

   

 

 

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Pisa,River Arno
Pisa,River Arno
Leaning Tower
Leaning Tower
Duomo
Duomo
Tower,up close
Tower,up close
Street where we stayed
Street where we stayed
View out of apartment
View out of apartment
Apartment
Apartment
Florence Cathedral
Florence Cathedral
Cathedral Tower
Cathedral Tower
piazza Signoria
piazza Signoria
Clock
Clock
Statue
Statue
Replica Statue Of David
Replica Statue Of David
More statues
More statues
Florence street
Florence street
Florence River Arno
Florence River Arno
Ponte Vecchio
Ponte Vecchio
upstream from Ponte Vecchio
upstream from Ponte Vecchio
Lucca Ampitheatre
Lucca Ampitheatre
Lucca tower
Lucca tower
View across Lucca
View across Lucca
Supporters Club at the Leaning Tow…
Supporters Club at the Leaning To…
Sheltering from the rain in Pisa
Sheltering from the rain in Pisa
Full time win
Full time win
Getting soaked in Livorno
Getting soaked in Livorno
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Lucca
photo by: Miranda-Maas