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The walled-city of Lucca

Lucca is a splendid walled-city, lies just to the north east of Pisa. I am not sure why there aren’t more people visiting this small city, but I am certainly grateful that we got to enjoy it without being jostled about. Founded over two millennia ago (even Julius Caesar had been here, and Puccini called it his hometown), it had seen days of glory (it was an independent city state, like Venice, until Napoleon came along) as well as certain decline (the fall into the Tuscan’s hand). Luckily, it had also retain plenty of charm to make this a worthy detour when travelling in the region. Hands down, better than Pisa!

Lucca

Lucca

The very first thing any visitor should do is to rent a bike. While Lucca is the kind of place one could happily saunter from one end to another, there is much more fun to be had on two wheels, especially when you could start touring the city by way of its intact Renaissance-era city walls and tree-lined ramparts. Very leisurely, a full turn takes about 20-25 minutes to complete. And you’d want to do it more than once, or maybe even in the other direction.

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Postcards: 2-hours in Florence (IT)

A second day of whirlwind Italian sightseeing continued, this time to the heart of Tuscany. F and I were en route to Lucca, which requires at least a train change in Florence, and since we would be at the train station already anyway, why not take advantage of the time gap between trains to take a quick glimpse of the birthplace of Renaissance?

Florence

Florence

We were there sufficiently early in the morning that we could enjoy an external admiration of the prominent Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore among relatively thin crowd. Its green, pink, and white marble façade was breathtakingly elegant, and we also marvelled over the large brick dome – quite a feat of engineering when you consider the timeline of its construction. One of these days, I’ve got to visit it properly. This was my third trip to Florence and I’ve yet to step foot into the cathedral!

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Postcards: Centro storico di Roma (IT)

It has been a good decade since I last visited Rome. I have forgotten just how enormous the buildings are, how many churches and cathedrals you can find within a stone’s throw, how chaotic everything could and would be, and how much I enjoyed hearing melodic Italian around me. However, I recall vividly the sheer number of people who flock to the main sights (even during the “shoulder” season)…

Rome

Rome

F and I started our two weeks trip to Italy with a quick stopover in Rome. How quickly? Just a little over a day. Frankly, I did not have the courage to brave the August crowd in the August heat, but when our schedule necessitated flying into Rome (but also out of Rome), it also seemed silly not to give F his first quick tour of the Eternal City.

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