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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Top 5 Italian Piazza’s

Florence, Italy, Lists, Tops 5/10, Travel Tips, Tuscany

The Italian piazza has been the center of public life for centuries, with ancient battles once being held in the very same place the locals now gather to gossip and tourists flock to take photographs.

The main squares in Italy form a crossroads, where historic streets and narrow alleyways meet. With every town and city in Italy having at least one they can range from majestic squares decorated with famous landmarks to smaller gathering spots with a simple fountain and the occasional market. Either way they embody the past and present Italian way of life and are a perfect place to relax, enjoy an espresso and people watch. 

Here’s a quick rundown of my top 5 Piazza’s in Italy……….

 

1. Piazza Michelangelo, Florence – The piazza its self might not be anything special but its the views people come here for. Sitting high up on a hill the square is dedicated to the Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo and offers fantastic panoramic views over Florence.

 

 

2. Piazza di Spagna, Rome – Hugely popular with tourist visiting the Spanish Steps, at the foot of the stairs, sits the famous Barcaccia Fountain. The glamorous streets which surround the piazza are home to prestigious boutique and luxury hotels.

 

 

3. Piazza della Signora, Florence –  The L-shaped square is an open air museum of sculptures and life, A regular meeting place of Florentine’s as well as tourists. The square is located in front of the Palazzo Vecchio and close to the Uffizi, Ponte Vecchio and Piazza del Doumo.

 

 

4. Piazza del Campo, Siena – This medieval square was once a small market but its unusual shell shape is lined with impressive buildings, the centrepiece being the town hall and its imposing tower.

 

 

 

5. Piazza Anfiteatro , Lucca – What was once a roman amphitheatre is now the stage for modern life in Lucca. The piazza has retained is unique oval shape and is now is encased with private homes above little shops, cafe’s and bars. Entering the Piazza you walk through the original Roman arches and columns which are embedded into the facade.

 

 

I know….I know..St Marks Square…. Piazza di Trevi… there are so many I have missed off the list……..

Which Italian Piazza do you think I’ve missed out and what would you add to the list?

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.