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!

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Piazza dei Miracoli in watercolour – Photopost

Photo Post, Photography, Pisa

It’s probably Italy most famous landmark and I have captured it in my dreamy watercolour effect, this fine art photography print is available to buy in my Etsy Shop in a range of sizes.

Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa, Italy.

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

 

 

Rome in a day

Italy, Travel, Uncategorized

You may be a history buff wanting to explore the Roman Forum or an art fanatic desperate for a glimpse of the Sistine chapel  Whatever it is, Rome breathes history and has religion and art in every corner. Packed with tourist and speeding Vespa’s that never stop, you cant expect to conquer the city in one single trip let alone just one day! But we tried….

 

On our first trip to Italy we made sure our return flight was a light night flight from Rome, which ment
no matter what it would give us chance to see not only more of the country but making it possible to visit the eternal city, even if it was only for a day. 

 

 

The 3 hour train ride from Pisa took us through the beautiful countryside of Tuscany and past the coast, travelling along passed southern Tuscany and into Lazio. We arrived in Rome at 9.30am and stepping off the Train at Roma Termini, I could instantly feel that the modern city was a huge contrast to the relaxed way of life in the Tuscan countryside we had become accustomed to. 

Although the city bares not only a long and colourful history but brilliant architecture and cultural treasures, there are plenty of horror stories about the metro system so we decided to walk it all, why go underground in a city scattered in sights anyway? And with so many sites you don’t have to walk far to find one, top of most people’s lists of things to see in Rome is of course the Colosseum. Being incredibly easy to get to from the main station (by foot or metro) we made it our first stop. 

 Arriving at the mighty ruin was truly incredible, it really is colossal but slightly tainted by the main roads and heavy traffic  Even so the 15 admission fee was well worth it as we could have easily spent a full day exploring the historical area. After spending the morning soaking up the atmosphere in the most famous structure of the Roman Empire, we headed down Via dei Fori Imperiali and past the Roman Forum to the Piazza Venezia. We knew it was just a short walk to the Pantheon and Fontana di Trevi but decided if we only had time to see one it would of course have to be the baroque masterpiece.

 From Piazza Venezia we walked up Via della Pilotta head on for the Fontana di Trevi and I was speechless, at first with the number of people in front of the fountain and then of the scale of what I expected to be ‘just a fountain’. I can honestly say I was utterly amazed at the size and detail of the marvel, and of course we threw coins to ensure our return to Rome!

 A gelato and short stroll  later we had stumbled into Piazza Spanga and the grand staircase which makes it famous. The 138 steps which make up the Spanish steps climb up to Trinità dei Monti church, just behind the piazza is the luxurious Via Veneto area. The streets are lined with many high-class boutique hotels and designer stores as well as the famous Café de Paris and Harry’s Bar.

 Ok, so we had missed out on the Pantheon and we didn’t have time to venture over the river to the Vatican, but the steep winding slope from Piazza del Popolo lead us up onto Pincian Hill where there is a wonderful balcony giving stunning views over the city and towards St. Peters Basilica. The hill is made up of the large landscape gardens of the Villa Borghese, which is now occupied by The Galleria Borghese. It made a perfect place to relax after a long day walking and a fantastic last glimpse of the city before heading home.

 Anyone will tell you a day is definitely not enough to explore the city completely and they are right!  The vast amounts of ancient architecture Rome has to offer is truly overwhelming and although I plan to return to city again at some point,e (After all I did throw a coin n the fountain!) I couldn’t help getting the getting the impression that it is just a metropolitan city built on what could be the world’s best museum. 

Have you been to Rome? if so what do you think?

5 Novels Set in Italy

Books, GoodReads, Language, Reading

Courtesy of my recent trip back from Tuscany, I’m going though an “Italian phase” watching old episodes of Montabalno and devouring novels set in Italy.
There’s the obvious ones like Room with a View, Angels and Demons and Eat, Prey, Love. But once you’ve read them what other juicy reads are there?
Here’s a List of recommended novels (all written in English) set in Italy, some of which I’ve read and the rest are top of my reading list.

 
Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire – The historical fantasy fiction set in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy is the dramatic retelling of Snow White. Seven-year-old Bianca de Nevada lives high above the rolling hills and valleys of Tuscany and Umbria, she has grown up isolated on her father’s estate, When Bianca is young her father finds a large mirror sunk in the lake on their property. Soon after their estate is descended upon by the Borgias, who, under the guise of hospitality, use their power and influence to change the lives of the de Nevadas.

 

 

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant– Set in renaissance Florence this fictional memoir follows the life of a young Florentine woman called Alessandra Cecchi. The story of love, art, religion, and power through the passionate voice of Alessandra weaves in and out of historical information about Florence and artists of the time.

 

 


The Food Of Love by Anthony Capella -Romantic novel set in Rome, same old story guy likes girl, girl likes other guy, which one will she pick? The classic comedy of errors begins, full of culinary magic and the sensual atmosphere of Italy, mixed with Love, food, comedy its well worth a read if you looking for some Italian romance.

 

 

Casa Rossa by Francesca Marciano – Three generations of Puglia women, A grandmother who left her husband and fled to Nazi Germany, The daughter who lived in Rome and her daughters slowly grow apart. This novel captures the passion of Southern Italy and family politics. Not my usual style of book but very enjoyable.

 

 
Juilet by Anne Fortier – After the death of her beloved aunt, Julie Jacobs is simply left a key to a safety deposit box in Siena while her sister is left with her aunts entire estate. This key sends Julie on a journey that will change her life forever, a journey into the troubled past of her ancestors and the history of Italy, where she discovers that her own fate is tied to literature’s greatest star-crossed lovers.

 
What’s your top title set in Italy?