Sunday, September 11, 2011

20 hours in Lucca, Italy

On the train ride from Monterosso to Lucca, I studied Cararra hard this time. No clouds obscured my view of the mountains so it did look like havoc. The marble rock areas along the train tracks were so varied. Some specialize in BIG blocks while others "siding" or extra thick kitchen counter sized sheets. Even pebbles and powdered marble were featured. One such place was a cloud of dust due to the sanding. Is this where Michelangelo acquired his stone? I began to notice marble everywhere. In the Viareggio train station, all the pillars and benches were made of marble.

Lucca was instantly a likeable city. It's surrounded by ramparts from the 16th century. I walked the circumference once and then crossed over it several other times over the course of my 20 hours in the city.

For some odd reason, I was reminded of Prospect Park in Brooklyn on several occasions during the walk along the 2.5 mile perimeter. Then the Parque del Retiro in Madrid entered the comparison list and Olmsted's Laurelhurst Park in Portland, Oregon
(all minus the water). Lots of cyclists and pedestrians on a hot summer day but the shade was relatively cool. I saw some incredible four inch high heels peddling bicycles today. The abuse of the bike bell was starting to drive me batty around the time this photograph was taken.

More ramparts. I loved this place because it was one of the first parks I had visited in a very long time.

Along the western edge near sunset:

San Ferdiano Guest House - My room was huge and the bathroom gargantuan! I photographed the curtain minus the money and the artwork uncovered because it was so dark and there weren't a lot of options during the small amount of time I had with relatively good light.

San Martino was also on my Lucca list. It ended up being my favorite church interior because all the scaffolding was on the outside in a distant location not the inside, it was free, and it wasn't very crowded.

White marble! Surprise! The facade was carved and each column was different.

Since I was unable to take photographs of the interior of San Martino, below is one gleaned from here. The ornamentation on the ceiling and the painting in the dome (with a circular stained glass window) were quite beautiful. There was some poorly constructed Jesus on a cross in a cage where one could make an offering (depicted below). The painting L'Assuziona by Stefano Tofannelli from the 1800s was amusing. Mary is suspended on a cloud held up by angels. The cloud looks like the Looney Tunes abominable snowman trail. Clearly I was reaching my capacity of looking at art and architecture if these were the analogies I was coming up with toward the end of the trip.

There were many Tony Cragg sculptures up throughout the city during my visit as part of the exhibition It is, It Isn't. Here are two made from a fiberglass material though others were carved out of marble. They reminded me of geological formations and eroding sediment. For more information see this website.

The view I stared at for a very long time waiting for my train to appear to take me to Pisa is below. I saw an older nun with a black hood and sandals though the rest of her outfit was white on the platform in front of me. She pulled out her old school cell phone and started to talk. A pigeon walked by with nubs for toes and took a crap right in front of me. For some reason, I felt compelled to text this fact to my aunt, Lesley, and instantly regretted that my phone was off for the trip. It was here during this wait that I realized how long the last two weeks had been. I hadn't had a substantial conversation in English with anyone in many days. I was beginning to miss talking, a tall glass of real orange juice, and eating fruit and vegetables on a regular basis.... but first Pisa - the town of my departure.

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