Thursday, May 5, 2011
Lucchio: Another random treasure
Friday, April 29
We visit another random hillside village, this one Randy’s choice—Lucchio, near Bagni di Lucca. According to online research, Luccio once was a city with 800 inhabitants; now it has only 50, so it is somewhat of a ghost town. Isolated hill towns typically lose their young people, who leave for schooling and job pursuits. Once a town starts losing people, the trend continues, because stores close, causing further job losses and more people moving away.
But because Italy’s houses are built of stone instead of wood, empty towns here do not look as run down as they do in the United States. In fact, Lucchio is very appealing, with flowers blooming everywhere, even coming out of the stone walls. This would be a lovely place for a vacation home, with spectacular views and enough elevation to avoid the sweltering summer heat of the lowlands. Many of the buildings are for sale, and the prices are extremely affordable, as one might imagine in a city in decline.
The most interesting feature is a ruined castle on the top of the mountain, just a ten-minute walk up a trail from the town limits. We have a 360-degree view of the surrounding hills and valleys, and the top is flat and grassy, with wild flowers all around. It would be a ideal place to bring a blanket, a book and a picnic lunch. Lucy says she would love to take a sleeping bag and lie on her back at night (next to her husband, of course) and look at the stars, with no light pollution from nearby cities. Photos are not multi-dimensional enough to do justice to hilltop views, so you’ll just have come some see for yourself!