Do Nothing or Do Everything in Italy….

Today it’s the start of another week-end where one is spoilt for choice – ‘l’imbarazzo della scelta’ as the Italian phrase goes.

One event I’m certainly heading for is this week-end’s ‘Mediaeval Lucca festival’ which takes place mainly in front of the beautifully refurbished san Francesco complex in the western part of the city. The festival was only started last year and is proving a great success. For more details see http://www.comune.lucca.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/IT/IDPagina/17102

It’s a pity that here there isn’t a web site like the one they have in my city of birth London. It’s called ‘Time Out’ and is at https://www.timeout.com/london . ‘Time Out’ has been running since 1968 when Tony Elliott used his birthday money to produce a one-sheet pamphlet. In those days there was a considerable split between the other London events magazine ‘What’s on in London’ which was largely aimed at the conventional tourist and ‘Time Out’ which , in addition had extra information for locals and was definitely counter-culture in stance with lists, for example, of demos to attend and gay bars. Now, in our multifaceted London scene the conventional is definitely out, especially since in 2012 Time Out became free and, in addition, spawned equivalent editions in America and Asia. To crown it all Elliott this year received a CBE for his services to publishing: something which, in that ‘grey-men culture’ still prevalent in the sixties, would have seemed inconceivable.

Although no magazine, whether on line or on paper, could possibly include every event going on in a particular region, Lucca province with a population of less than a thirtieth that of London could well do with a ‘Time Out’ equivalent with a catchy title. May I suggest for the Italian edition ‘Lucchesare’ and for the English ‘Lucca-look’ (sorry!).

Having said that, if you still complain that you keep on missing out on our area’s exciting events, which in summer proliferate to a heady degree, then I suggest you look at the following sites, several of which have English editions. You can, of course, also do what I do, which is to take a photo of every ‘affisso’ or poster hanging on the bar doors.

 

For things happening in Lucca and environs see:

http://www.dovealucca.it/eventi-a-lucca.php

For music events in Lucca and environs:

http://www.luccamusica.it/language/it/

There’s an English version of this. (I know that because I edit it!)

For a wider coverage events in Lucca province there are the following sites covering various festivals, sagre and events see:

http://www.pontineltempo.it/

It’s always good and covers events in Bagni di Lucca too: for example the crossbow competition here this Sunday and the totally unmissable baldoria at Sala this evening. If you don’t know what a baldoria is check out my post at: https://longoio2.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/its-cerretos-mayhem-time-again/ . (PS having mentioned that one I feel that for all of us who have been affected by the news of the terrible fire at Grenfell tower in London with a death toll of 79 – including a lovely young Italian couple – and mounting, attending a Baldoria  may not be such a good idea right now).

The Serchio delle Muse is yet another Garfagnana-wide festival that chooses unusual locations to hold its events. The concert we attended on the Pania Della Croce’s slopes at a height of above 5000 feet was particularly memorable. See my post for this and other amazing music venues at

https://longoio2.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/heavenly-music-in-a-heavenly-place/

Strangely, Bagni di Lucca’s own events web site at http://www.prolocobagnidilucca.it/ doesn’t seem to be operational today. I wonder why? So how would you know, if you’ve just arrived, that this evening there’s a marvellous village festival celebrating St John the Baptist at Pieve Monti di Villa. There’s information about it in Viareggio’s (!) web site at http://www.versiliainfo.com/IT/contenuto.asp?ARTID=5855. And, of course, you can read all about it in my post at https://longoio2.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/saint-john-the-baptist-blesses-pieve-di-monti-di-villa/

Probably one of the most comprehensive list of events, beautifully laid out in terms of music, theatre, exhibitions etc, is to be found in the marvellous Lucca area magazine ‘Grapevine’ whose web-site is at

http://www.luccagrapevine.com/

It’s well worth investing either in the paper or the on-line edition for then it would be truly difficult to miss out on our local scene!, Furthermore, you’ll be able to enrich your knowledge of our wonderfully unique part of the world with the magazine’s interesting and informative articles.

Where will we go this Saturday?

There’s an interesting discussion on mediaeval pilgrims at Brandeglio Parish church. It’s described at

http://www.fondazionemontaigne.it/

There’s a choice between the baldoria and the Pieve di Monti di Villa festa. I think I’ll go to the baldoria because it’s the only occasion when the amazing Pieve di Sala is open. (See my post on this monumental church at

https://longoio.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/a-castle-and-a-pieve/ )

There is, of course, Debra’s web site at https://bellabagnidilucca.com/ which will give you hints on how to spend this week-end afternoon if you can tear yourself away from the lunch table.

It’s possible to spend hours googling locations in the area to find out what’s happening. The problem is that each comune in Lucca province has its own tourist information site which doesn’t mesh in with any other comune.

Having said this, if you’ve lived in this part of the world for a few years you’ll have ingrained in your brain cells the calendar of events which succeed each other every year, The starting point is the liturgical calendar which can always point to the great ceremonies happening at each major stage in the church year: Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Domini, St John the Baptist and, of course, each town’s patron saint’s day where everyone gets the day off, public institutions and the post office are closed, and the day is devoted to that wonderful mixture of the sacred and the profane which characterises the best Italian pageants.

And I haven’t even started to mention what’s happening in Barga. No excuse for missing Monteverdi’s vespers in its cathedral on August 27th (see https://www.operabarga.it/) conducted by the stupendous Sardelli. And Puccini by the lake-side? Quite unmissable. See http://www.puccinifestival.it/.

Of course, if you have a fast car (there’s a model which actually takes off and flies now, useful for avoiding all those bendy Apennine roads  – see http://www.traveller.com.au/paris-air-show-2017-photos-flying-cars-and-other-cool-highlights-gww8kc ) then you could consult this list of Italian festivals from Sicily to Siena and beyond at https://www.tripsavvy.com/festivals-holidays-and-special-events-in-italy-1547324 which will give you some indication of where to be and when.

Of course, you could give the whole festa thing a miss and spend your time by the sea or in the mountains as your inclination directs.

My next post may well be on places to recover after a spate of Italian summer festivities: spas principally!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Do Nothing or Do Everything in Italy….

  1. Francis, you write some of the most interesting posts. I am always amazed at how much there is to do in your little corner of the world. And even more surprised that you find the time to write so much so often. I find it takes me many hours for just one post. Great work. Lyn

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