Everywhere you go in Italy you will see very cute little cars!!
And not only are they cute, they are sensible too - particularly in a city like Lucca that has narrow streets and limited parking - the smaller the car the easier your day to day motoring is.
Now, just make sure you don't do too much shopping though....
In and around Lucca you will find many water fountains. The water comes from the mountains between Lucca and Pisa, called "Monti Pisani".
The water is drinkable and you will see many locals refilling their plastic bottles and cans at the fountains. I drank the healthy water 3 days and I am still alive, so the water obviously can't be that bad.
Two popular beer brands of Italy are Birra Moretti and Peroni Nastro Azzuro. Bierra Moretti is brewed since more than 100 years in Udine, whereas the Peroni Brewery is located since 1846 in Rome.
Both beers are not too bad, but obviously the local VT members seem to prefer German beer.
Peroni Nastro Azzuro:
Zuppa di Farro is a traditional white bean soup which fed the Roman legions. It is a simple but yummy soup, made with farro which is an ancient wheat grain.
I enjoyed a Zuppa di Farro in the Trattoria da Leo (please read my restaurant tip). Another name for the soup is Minestra di Farro.
In the weekends and on the 12th and 13th there is a market in the open in Borgo Giannotti and adjacent zone up to the Sport Palace. Food, clothes, kitchen stuff, tiny animals, handcrafts, shoes, and whatever you need is sold in this area just outside Porta Santa Maria.
Wandering around the streets of Lucca you will come across some local commerce, mainly when you stay out of main streets and routes. Some lovely small shops with typical ambiance will provide you a memorable image of Lucca. A couple of elderly ladies talking at the door of this drugstore is a vivid memory of less touristy Lucca that I'm sure I will always remember.
A most common sight in Lucca - a bicycle - is also present on this scene.
When I was in Lucca I saw lots of locals at some fountains filling bottles to take home.
I asked a woman about this thing. She answered that water from the fountains in Lucca is better than that in houses. She also said it comes from the mountains near the town.
On the 13th there is the main celebration. A religious procession walk through the streets of old town, leaded by the Bishop, showing old flags and holy images. At the end all the people rushes on the Walls to see the fireworks starting at about 10.30-11 PM.
In the Cathedral there is a wooden statue representing Jesus Crucified (see the related must-see tip). During the celebrations this statue is dressed with precious ancient clothes made by silk, brocade and gold, and with golden jewelry.
Two medieval-style armored crossbowmen are placed as guardians to this holy image all day long during the time in which the statue is dressed.
Flat land means football/soccer , even if it is next to the famous walled city of Lucca. You can catch a game around most of the walled city. The best part is to look down on the games as you walk on top of the wall. If you are any good at dribbling and passing, maybe even scoring, then ask to join in. The players may just let you get on the field for a few minutes. Of course, I enjoyed watching. Not much action in the old legs anymore.
When we traveled to Lucca by the end of April, we found that from April 24-27, the locals were celebrating the local festivity of Santa Zita who is the patron saint of Lucca.
They told us that every year, on 27th April, in the honour of S.Zita in S. Frediano square there are a lot of flowers and you can find a flower/street market in the Amphitheater. People buy a bunch of flowers along the street and they have it blessed and they keep it in their houses. The wild daffodil is the flower that is usually connected with this saint.
In those days, Piazza dell´Anfiteatro is full of colours because the locals celebrate this festivity with flowers and people from everywhere come here to buy flowers. They also do a Flowers competition between the flower stalls and it is a party for the eyes, not only because the colours but also for the diversity of flowers there.
The locals made also the typical sweets and they go outside to celebrate the party.
The most treasured religious object in Lucca is Volto Santo, which is kept in a shrine at The Cathedral od San Martino. The painted wooden crucifix has a darkened face and is reputed to have been given to Nicodemus by angels, and arrived in Lucca after long and tortuous travels. It is greatly revered, and on the eve of the feast of Santa Croce it is processed from the church of San Frediano back to its resting place at the Cathedral by candlelight. During the preceeding days there are vigils in the Cathedral with much devotion, singing and prayers.
The procession itself has both religious aspects, as there are frequent stops for prayers as well as hymn singing, but also homecoming and reunions as Lucchese scattered around the world return to march with their home parishes.
During the month of September in Lucca there are a lot of events. This because on the 13th the Holy Cross is celebrated as the patron saint of the city (actually is only one of the many saints celebrated...and I can't say certainly which is really the patron).
Markets, exhibitions, religious activities drag on the whole month.
There are two main exhibition areas in town:
the first is San Micheletto. Former a convent, now it is open for exhibitions, courses and for the city university that is going to start lessons very soon.
The second spot it's in the tensioned structure beside the Sport Palace, near the Walls in the outer parte between Porta Santa Maria and Porta San Donato.
In the zone between the Sport Palace and Borgo Giannotti there is an amusement park with a lot of attractions for children and kids. During this period this is also a meeting point for 14-18 years old guys.