After nearly a week in two Italian cities, the Irishman and I were pooped. We really looked forward to our visit to Lucca primarily for a chance to relax: city breaks are great, but not the most restful. We wanted food, wine, sleep, and the Italian "dolce vita" full of leisurely walks and not much else.
I had traveled to Lucca during my summer in Florence and remembered it as a sleepy and enchanting town and it hasn't changed a bit. We arrived to find a Lucchese agroturismo fair set up in the main square with wine and olive oil tastings, and a few stands selling delicious sweets native to the area like a special lemon donut and an anise-flavored light biscuit that melted in your mouth. We were in heaven, and it was absolutely wonderful.
It helped that the rain stopped in time for our visit, so we were able to pull out t-shirts and short skirts (well, for me at least) and join the passegiato with dignity. Lucca is not short on good shopping, and I finally spent my £200 work award money on a leather bag so soft it too feels like it might melt in your hands. It didn't attend a passegiata - in fact, this past weekend was its' debut night out!
We also spent one leisurely, warm morning in the sun walking Lucca's walls. The entire circumference is about 4km, and we were joined by runners, walkers, cyclists, dogs, kids, and other tourists. A whole cross-section of Lucca is up on the ramparts and it is one of the best ways to see the town. I noticed a canal from there that I had never seen before! We also spotted some street markets, and had lovely snacks of fresh fruit (peach for me - pesca bianca, my favorite - and an apple for the Irishman).
Lucca was, and still remains, my favorite place in Italy. The Irishman agreed, and we're planning on a villa rental in the hills outside the city for our next Italian adventure. Wine and olive oil, here I come!