Lucca never ceases to surprise. Even after having lived within striking distance of this incredibly beautiful Italian city for over ten years there are always new things to discover. Visiting the city yesterday with friends who were dog sitting we let loose the spaniel on the expansive turf outside the city walls where she soon made friends with other dogs and also engaged in an almost supersonic chase.
Once these grassy spreads formed part of a moat surrounding the walls. Later, when the walls were deemed superfluous for defence purposes and converted into a pedestrian esplanade the moat was drained and now forms part of a huge park around Lucca.
If you either have a dog or are dog-sitting it’s a great place for both two-footed and four-footed beings.
It’s often difficult to decide where to have a bite in Lucca. Some places are definitely priced for tourists and may not have an exactly local cuisine. We found ourselves in somewhat of a hurry in the Via Giustinia and tentatively entered into a bar called Caffè da Fede
The interior was decorated in my wife’s favourite colour:
We were amply rewarded – this was the lunch menu:
We were served courteously and quickly. We didn’t have time to eat a secondo but, anyway, our primo completely filled our stomach with its ample portions. We had tagliatelle with mushrooms and our friends had lasagne with mushrooms and asparagus. Both plates were quite delicious.
Coffee was good and our macchiato was served with the ample froth I love. Prices were very economical, especially for inner Lucca, and we spent just 30 euros in four to feed and water (and wine) ourselves.
Coming out of the café-restaurant we spotted another interesting place, an artisan press. Inside there was a collection of typographical machines of varying antiquity and a very enthusiastic and helpful young typographer.
His shop is indeed a museum as well and we examined what fine examples of personalised cards and printing options were available.
The shop also embosses most finely.
We’d come to Lucca for serious business but left the city in a more joyful mood.
How terribly sad that, because of fanatics in another great world city, ordinary people are suddenly made aware that having a meal, or just a cup of coffee, or enjoying an entertainment could turn into a deathly occupation. Our hearts go out to a city that for me (and so many others) has spelled real freedom when, as a teenager, I escaped by hitch-hiking from a rather greyer London than now to a place that greeted me with both fun and love and colour.
The café on the Buttes Chaumont –
the one decent meal as I cast eyes
in soporific wine upon a hot late summer’s day
entwining my thoughts with your breasts,
your o-so cushion lips
oozing a perfume of exotic love.
My head quite gone
I cast looks on strange cliffs of destiny –
calumny of the flesh –
desire of a sixteen year old:
the afternoon of a teenager.