White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Mile Around the Block, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

While I certainly enjoy the random wanderings down any street in Lucca to see where it takes me, my walking man gene likes a fixed course that my body can execute on auto-pilot, that passes cool sights and elements of Lucca, and that ends up back at my door.

Following the black line in the map above, it turns out if I go west on Via San Croce, north and east on Via Fillungo, through the Porta Santa Maria dei Borghi gate, southeast on Via della Zecca, south on Via del Fosso, then west on Via Santa Croce through the Porta San Gervasio gate and home. It is exactly a one mile course. I like that.

The following was a night time trip along that route.

North on Via Fillungo - it was a good time to ride a bike as there were few pedestrians like myself on this chilly evening.

Still on Via Fillungo.

A texture and shadow enhanced view through the Porta San Gervasio gate, a 13th century artifact.

Late arrivals into the city via the Porta San Gervasio gate haul their luggage in the darkness.

It's a short walk but jam packed with interesting sights - day or night - and I'll usually add a detour through Piazza dell' Anfiteatro just because I can. Now, where did I put my blue plaid trousers and blue diamond stockings? (See my 3/20/17 blog post at this link for context).

Guitar Concert Series at the Institute Boccherini, Piazza del Suffragio, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

It is 9pm local time and the streets look quiet but, at the Institute Boccherini at Piazza del Suffragio, the Guitar Concert Series is just ready to begin. Luigi Boccherini, the above statue, would be proud. He was born in Lucca in the 1740's and the Institute is named for him.

The immediately adjacent Institute venue, a former church, seats about 200 of which about half the chairs were filled. Admission was free. At a glance most of the audience was musician types in their 20's and 30's' They sat like eager youngsters waiting in anticipation for Christmas morning - as proteges, aspirants, or peers of the performers, they were thrilled in anticipation of the display of masterful talent about to unfold.

The program was in Italian only, the speakers were in Italian, and the audience was speaking Italian - talk about feeling isolated. But the language of music bridges all cultures.

It's time to head inside and take a seat.

The addition of a stage and acoustic paneling in the former altar area made the hall suitable for musical performances.

I am not an aficionado of the classical guitar. I do attempt to play pop guitar myself for the challenge, joy, and entertainment but, these world-class performers are in a group by themselves. I could never create the beautiful complex sounds they do if I live another 100 years. It was transcendent in it's beauty. You could hear a pin drop in the auditorium so rapt was the attention of the music lovers and students watching and listening.

The first evening performance featured Lorenzo Micheli.

The second evening was Aniello Desiderio.

The third and final evening in the series included soloists, duets, and a guitar and piano duo.

Walking home late in the still night - only the memories and joy of the music remained.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Antiques Market, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

On the third weekend of the month Lucca holds an antiques market. It winds through parts of town from Piazza Antelminelli, through Piazza San Martino, and Piazza San Giovani, and Piazza del Giglio, and Piazza Napoleone, and finally ends at Piazza San Giusto.

It feels more like wandering through an open-air museum than an outdoor market.

Many of the pieces were absolutely beautiful and grand.

A silver seller's display.

Frankly, these dolls looked a bit too creepy for my taste. As I walked away, I turned back to see if their mouths were moving to mock me.

I'm not sure if he was a vendor, visitor, or patron but, he had a great look about him.

I wouldn't mind drinking from these golden glasses.

And I would definitely enjoy sitting at this desk to edit, write, and publish blogs. Hmmmm? 

Scenes Around Town, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Piazza San Michele is looking fine as always in this panoramic image. The center of town since Roman times, it is always buzzing with activity or folks just relaxing on the the steps of the church.

The late afternoon sun backlights the busy foot and bike traffic through Porta San Gervasio. The Porta was part of the ancient walls of Lucca and was completed in 1255. I walk through it daily on the way to the forno (bakery/bread store) and still enjoy a sense of awe.

Over at Porta dei Borghi, weekend pedestrian traffic fills the narrow gateway. Like the Porta San Gervasio, it was completed in the mid-13th century

Bicycle rental companies are popular for folks wanting to ride around town on the wall or, through the narrow streets dodging pedestrians, dogs, cars, and other bikes.

Some hugging and picture-taking is going on atop the wall.

Another day draws to a close from atop the wall.

The carousel lights come on in Piazza Napoleone.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Quiet Streets or Pounding Drumbeats, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Sometimes it is quiet enough to hear a pin drop in the narrow streets of Lucca.

And sometimes the only thing heard is the gentle rhythm of one person walking.

Sometimes it's the easily recognized sound of plastic luggage wheels bouncing along the uneven stones.

And sometimes it's the reverberation of drum beats echoing through the narrow canyon-like streets as a parade passes by.

Unfortunately, I found out neither the occasion nor the purpose of the parade. But it was colorful, loud, full of life, and fun to watch. Ah, Lucca!

Out and About, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Nothing like a bright red coat to give a photogragh on a cloudy gray day a burst of life.

Some folks buy and carry and some folks sit and watch.

Many businesses have managed to take advantage of the favorite musical son of Lucca, Giovanni Puccini, the 19th century Italian opera composer who produced more than 70 works making him one of the most prolific composers of the time.

But Lucca isn't just about deceased opera composers. Their annual music festival draws modern stars every summer.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Bookseller, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Empty cafe tables sit in the shadow of this small piazza. The green and yellow glow of the bookseller stalls are lighted in the background. This is one of my favorite images and so I published it by itself in this post.

On the Wall, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

On top of the wall, spring flowers are popping out and the trees are showing a hint of green.

The world is busting out all over in color. (Special effect added in post-processing).

The sky gives a nice show at this sunset.

Beauty abounds in and around Lucca.