The Tuscan Sun!

Although we have loved our visits to Florence in the past, the record high heat and unrelenting sun led us to a decision to spend our two days in Tuscany in the smaller cities of Livorno, Lucca, and Pisa. We just couldn’t wrap our heads around walking around Florence at 104°!

Livorno Harbor

Livorno is the port city serving Tuscany. Its crumbling Renaissance-era fortification walls give way to a small town square. A few blocks away is the Venezia Nuova quarter, complete with a tiny network of canals. The night we were there there was an art fair going on, complete with artisan crafts, food, music, and balloons. We might have sampled a regional Chianti or Mobile di Montepulciano or two! It was fun to mingle among the local residents in a festive small town!

Venezia Nuova Canal
Church of San Ferdinando
Historic Town Hall
Festive Balcony
Art Fair

Making our way from Livorno to Lucca through the rolling, emerald-green countryside, we passed acres and acres of sunflowers, cypress trees, olive groves, and vineyards. We also crossed the Arno River.

Sunflowers for miles!
Arno River

Lucca is a charming historic city on the Serchio River. It is best known for its tree-lined 2.7 mile loop trail which has been built on top of its Medieval walls that still circle the historic old town. The Walls of Lucca are popular for jogging, cycling, and carriage rides. For us, they provided some welcome shade as we made our way around this well-preserved city.

During Roman times, Lucca served as an important meeting place for Julius Caesar and Crassus. It is also the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini. His home is now a museum and bookstore, and a statue of the great composer stands proudly in the Piazza Cittadella. Lucca is also home to several beautiful churches, most notably the Church of San Michele in Forno, around which a lively piazza serves as a meeting spot for locals and tourists needing a break.

Lucca’s traditional pastry, buccallato, is a round sweet bread sotted with raisins and anise. The Lucchese say “Whoever comes to Lucca and doesn’t eat buccallato is like never having been there.” We certainly didn’t want that to happen!

Giacomo Puccini at Piazza Cittadella
In search of the best buccallato
Mission accomplished!

No visit to Tuscany would be complete without a visit to Pisa, where the Square of Miracles welcomes thousands of visitors every day. Here, a trinity of masterpieces – Pisa Cathedral, the Baptistry, and the Campanile (a.k.a. Leaning Tower) – reflect some of the region’s finest art and architecture.

Gateway to Piazza Miracali
The Trinity
The Baptistry
Leaning Tower of Pisa
A bit of fun at the Tower!

9 thoughts on “The Tuscan Sun!

  1. Thank you for the trip to my roots. My great grandfather was born and raised in Livorno, before answering the call as one of Garibaldi’s 1,000 Men.

    You probably photographed all that remains of Pop Pacini’s Livorno, following the German bombing during World War II. Having only passed through Livorno from the harbour to Florence, you have redoubled my desire to spend time to see the town.

    Liked by 1 person

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