We visited Lucca on February 27, a old fortified Roman city known for its Pisa-style duomo facade, a family tower terrace planted with trees, and a piazza formed by medieval homes built on the oval foundations of a Roman amphitheater. Near the western coast of Italy, and to the north, our travel time was almost seven hours that day via train to Lucca. The Tuscan countryside was in its full glory, so the views were worth the seven hours. I was also impressed by the number of plant nurseries along the tracks. Miles of baby cypress trees and budding violet magnolias kept rhythm along the tracks. Why are there so many more nurseries here than at home? What do the Italians know that Americans are missing. Can their attachment to the land be so much stronger than ours because they have so much less space and so much more historical connection? I would like to know. Perhaps its the longing for growing green in the dense population centers of the historical medieval towns that has stayed in their blood. Lucca was happy, a tall city in the valley, filled with Italians doing daily tasks, window shopping, eating pizza, drinking caffe (in shots), buying socks at sock-land (Calzedonia), and riding bikes (not only through the streets but up atop the 25+ foot wide wall surrounding the historical Roman city)
Facade carved columns
Bikes at City Hall
Stairs up Tree Tower
Bikes at the amphitheater piazza
Leaning against the old Roman theater wall_ note the old entrance arches filled in by medieval homes.