Piazza Anfiteatro, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Piazza Anfiteatro, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy
Piazza Anfiteatro, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Vegan Lunch, Associazione Culturale Gioia di Vivere, San Macario, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Amy arranged for her photo tour group to attend and photograph a traditional Italian dinner but, it was also non-traditional in that it was an all-vegan dinner. 

The menu board.

Great tasting and healthful food in a country that loves good food is a great combination.

The vegan chef preparing one of the courses.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rainy Market Day, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Today was market day in Lucca but, it got off to a wet start with an intense albeit brief spring rain shower.

Of  course, rain almost always means great reflective puddles for photos.........

.......and many brightly colored umbrellas for sale at the market. 

There are always one or two musicians at the market playing for the crowd. This busker stayed out of the rain in the nearby tunnel through the wall and serenades the passing crowds.

Later that day, I saw this scene heading home. I did all kinds of things to the image in post processing to try to create an old-timey sort of feeling. I adjusted the shadows, highlights, mid-tones, colors, tint, contrast, brightness, texture.  But frankly........

......... I think I like how it looked right out of the camera just as much.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Nozzano Castle, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Standing watch over the nearby Serchio River, the Nozzano Castle has stood for a thousand years on a rocky hill a few miles west of the walled city of Lucca.  It dates back to the period of strife between Lucca and neighboring Pisa which also had a similar castle on their side of the river adjacent to this one.

The castle itself is not open to the general public but wandering outside was still pleasant enough.

Here's the view from the other side of town as we departed.

Surrounding countryside.

A nearby villa, now a bed and breakfast. Beautiful visuals even on a cloudy day.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ponte della Maddalena, "The Devil's Bridge," Borgo a Mozzano, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Near the village of Borgo a Mozzano stands the 1000-year old Ponte della Maddalena, or, in English, the Bridge of Mary Magdalene. It is also known as "the Devil's Bridge." The story being that the builders made a pact with the devil to help build the bridge. In return, the devil would receive the soul of the first to cross the bridge. The locals outwitted the devil by luring a pig across first. I am standing at the peak of the high arch span.  The distant mountains beyond the Serchio River are still snow-capped even with the warm weather this week.

Here's the bridge at dusk on a different day.

These bright yellow crops of canola/rapeseed adorn many fields in northern Tuscany right now and these were on the trip from Lucca north through the Serchio River valley to the bridge.

Look ma, no hands! But you'd better pay no attention to the red 18-wheeler bearing down at high speed from behind.  Bicyclists sharing these narrow roads with fast Italian automobile drivers appear to be both brave and fearless - and it is a rare road, rural or otherwise, where I have not encountered a bicyclist.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Villa Torrigiani, Capannori, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

North of Lucca there are many fancy villas dating from hundreds of years ago. This one,Villa Torrigiani, is from the mid-1500's and it's current owners open the grounds and house for public tours (7 Euro grounds only, 12 Euro house and grounds).

The south facing front of the house.

A pleasant way to spend a few hours on a beautiful day - wandering around the pastoral calm amid birdsong and sunshine.

A side yard garden.

The view to the north through a back gate.

Let the sleeping dog lie.....

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Random Sights, Lucca Area, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Sunset from atop the wall. (Lucca).

A spring butterfly. (Pieve Santo Stefano).

Wisteria in full bloom.  (Monte San Quirico)

A lone bicycle parked in the colonnade. (Lucca).

Shadows in glassware. (Provence, France).

Monday, April 20, 2015

San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy

The medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano still has more than a dozen towers standing. In it's storied past, there were more than 70 towers during the heyday of this two-thousand plus year old town. In the modern era, the town is a very popular tourist destination. 

On the day of my visit, there were buses full of both school-age folks and of seniors roaming the streets enjoying the summer-like warmth. In that warm weather, what could be better than...........

... a cone or dish of gelato! This shop claims to be the Gelato World Champion.

While a few doors away, this shop claims to have the best gelato in the world.

These are probably the best people to judge the winner.

A random group portrait of tourists.

A countryside view from town.

Playing in one of the piazzas. (All color removed in post-processing except the red sweater).

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tuscan Countryside, Volterra, Tuscany, Italy

The drive from Lucca to Volterra took us toward Pisa and then south along the E80 highway/tollway until joining the rural road SR68 to drive eastward. This view and the following scenic images were taken somewhere along that rural route.

Springtime green in the Tuscan countryside. (Panorama - click on image to view full width).

It was hazy skies but the close green fields were stunning.

Looking for a fixer-upper?

Look ma, no hands! In Volterra, an unusually wide street in this old Etruscan hillside town.

Local pizza delivery by motorcycle! My kind of town.

A long and winding road.

Odd  place to nurture, protect, and preserve a lone tree on a steep hillside.

Volterra is located on the distant hilltop.

Another of the gazillion vineyards. Looks like the plan is to plant something else between the vines on alternate rows.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Around Town, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

The bicycle seems to be the most common form of transportation in Lucca - for young, old, and in-between. In the background is a section of the centuries-old wall that encircles the city. On top of the wall is a wide path for walking or cycling.

One of the many sidewalk cafes. This one is just off Via Fillungo.

A bicycle renting business next to the wall in Piazza Santa Maria. (3 euro/hr)

A long line of plane trees just outside the walls through Porta Santa Maria.

One of the eleven ramparts on the wall around Lucca.

A section of the 4km/2.5mi path on top of the wall.

A full color image - everything is black, white, or gray.

A woman tends her balcony garden and laundry room.

A pretty special place - Lucca.