Puccini, Son of Lucca…

Italy, Lucca, Tuscany

A bronze statue sits in front of his childhood home at Corte San Lorenzo, Fragments of his life are scattered throughout the province of Lucca. His music is known all around the world and he is arguably the greatest Italian composer of all time. He is Giacomo Puccini, (not to be confused with the opera singer Pavarotti!)… Famous for his late-19th century romantic Italian operas such as La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Turandot and one of the most famous arias ever written, Nessun Dorma. (You might have heard it being sung at football matches.)

 

The home he grew up in has been restored in the style of the mid-nineteenth century and made into a small museum with a pretty little garden, You can walk through the rooms of the house, where there are displays of manuscripts and music scores from his operas, as wells as photos and paintings. Each room has a small description of what the room was used for (written in both Italian and English), The highlight for us was seeing the very same piano on which he composed Turandot, There is also some interesting costumes from his operas, and various other memorabilia.

His lake side home where he lived and worked on his major operas is in nearby Torre del Lago, what was once an old watch tower and his beloved home is now his final resting place and a museum. Every year during the summer months the Museo Villa Puccini holds a Puccini Opera Festival, held in the outdoor theatre overlooking the lake, Puccini fans can hear some of his famous operas performed by the very lake where he composed them.

The city of Lucca embraces him as a favourite native son, and its a wonderful joy for any opera fan and if you wish to visit the area there is the aptly named piccolo hotel Puccini just around the corner from his childhood home!

Ponte della Maddalena

Daydrips, Lucca, Travel, Tuscany

 

This beautiful medieval bridge crosses the Serchio river near the small town of Borgo a Mozzano. Known Locally as  “Ponte del Diavolo” (Devil’s Bridge) the Ponte della Maddalena “Bridge of Mary Magdalene” is just a short train/bus ride from Lucca, originally thought to be commissioned by the Countess Matilda of Tuscany somewhere between 1080 – 1100, the majestic bridge has become a symbol of the Garfagnana region and attracts many tourist to this sleepy corner of Tuscany every year.


The vital river crossing was once an important link for pilgrimages to Rome and is incredibly easy to find, there is a car park beside the bridge and regular trains an buses from Lucca.


Arriving by train brings you into the main town of Borgo a Mozzano, where its only a short walk through the quite streets until, with a glorious backdrop of the Garfagnana mountains the top of the stone bridge comes into view.

The “climb” to the highest arch brings spectacular panoramic views over the river and up towards the little houses which dot the surrounding mountains. Once across its elegant arches you will find a bilingual narrative next giving the history of the bridge, there is also a small cafe where you can enjoy an espresso and admire the stone work before heading back across to check out the delights of Borgo a Mozzzano. Being only a 25 minute train ride from Lucca this made a great day trip for us and we have since been back to the bridge a few times when in the area.

 

Lucca in Autumn

Italy, Lucca, Uncategorized

The Opera season has just begun….. There are chestnuts, porcini mushrooms and truffles in abundance, the long hot summer is over and life in Lucca begins to fall back in to its lazy lifestyle……Just as we are about to leave!

The famous walls are in their full autumnal glory, the rich colour of the leaves bringing a warmness to the city and complementing the red of the millions of tiny bricks. A gust of wind blows a fresh selection of leaves down from the trees, falling like little golden snowflakes in the late afternoon sun before landing at our feet. We have stayed here long enough, its time to move on. We make our way up from the bench and begin along Lucca’s grand defence.luc

 The carpet of dry leaves crunch beneath our feet as we walk along the wide promenade. The leaves which remain on the trees are intensive in their colour, some flame red, others a soft yellow ochre while a few trees have lost their foliage completely. There is an older lady collecting chesnuts, We watch as she slowly scans the ground and carefully selects the best of the millions of chestnuts on offer, hidden under dry dead leaves. We stop and give her a hand for a few minutes, Her carrier bag is well over half full when we say our goodbyes, she thanks us profusely and as we carry on with our final walk of the walls I contemplate her plans for the chesnuts. Will she make a sweet dessert, a roasted snack or maybe she’s supplying one of the Chestnuts vendors which appear around the city this time of year!

Lucca, I love you at this time of year and I will miss you!

 

© TuscanDreamsPhotography
Images in this post are owned and distributed by me.

Lucca from the plane

AboutMe, Italy, Lucca

We have flown into Pisa countless times and upon this approach I was glancing out the widow as usuall when I spotted a familiar site and what will be our base for the next few weeks………Lucca……….

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Maybe not the best quality of images to share but it captures the town, the impressive city walls, the river Serchio aand the surrounding mountains.

 

© TuscanDreamsPhotography
Images in this post are owned and distributed by me.