Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The incomparable city wall of Lucca

When your family can't all ride bikes, there are other alternatives.
Monday, April 15, 2013
This is my third spring of living near Lucca, and it’s about time I shared one of the secrets of why I come here: Le Mura. Lucca has a city wall that is absolutely incomparable. I originally thought of a city wall as narrow, steep and made entirely of stone, but in Lucca, the wall is enormous. The center is filled with dirt to withstand cannon balls, and the top is wide and flat, perfect for walking, jogging or bicycling. It rings the ancient historical center as a 4-kilometer linear tree-lined park. The numerous wide, flat bastions are now used as grassy playgrounds. All along the circle are benches, tables, play equipment and scenic views looking both inside the centro and without.
A lively game of Dominos keeps both participants and spectators attentive in rapt anticipation.
Despite the beauty of the wall and the vistas, it is people-watching that really make a trip or two around the wall an unforgettable experience. Mothers push children in strollers. Athletes use the wall as a fitness track, turning laps on fancy bikes, sprinting or just jogging. Couples walk hand-in-hand or lie on the grass engaged in deep conversations and expression of amore. Grandfathers hold hands with nipotini, widows in black dresses walk side-by-side, teenagers gather in groups to try out their developing social skills, and
This busy mom walks her children while
using her telefonino to keep track of
her other responsibilities.

of ragazzi from school groups chatter loudly under the guidance of their teachers. And then there is always gelato, espresso and a cornetto, because just below the wall is the city, with many ramps that lead down to the shops and then back up again.

Lucca is very flat, so it an ideal place for biking, and it’s not hard to find one of the many shops that rent bikes for about 3 euro an hour. A bike can circle the city in 10 or 15 minutes. On foot, it takes about 45 minutes to an hour for a leisurely stroll. Much of this depends, though, on how often you stop to take pictures or lie in the green grass. A trip around the wall is a great way to start out a vacation in Lucca, because it gives you an idea of the scope and size of the city. It’s also a great way to end a vacation, because it reminds you of all you have seen and grown to love. And come to think of it, it’s also a great way to pass a day at least once a week, because it helps you stay in touch with nature by filling your lungs with fresh air and the beautiful sights, smells and sounds of humanity, along with an Italian city and country all at the same time.
Some use the green fields to write, sketch or paint.
The teacher is asking this group of Italian schoolchildren who wants a gelato.
Tourists on rented bikes

1 comment:

  1. The Lucca wall walk reminds me of the kind of activities that Gig Harbor would like to see on the Harbor edge walk with its many parks. People getting out and enjoying their surroundings and each other.



Comments welcome.