Commuting in the Lucchesia

Travelling to work is not the most exciting experience for the majority. In London the South Circular road (the inner orbital road of that megalopolis) which I used regularly was a tedious affair –– one rarely stopped to look at interesting scenery or buildings – there just wasn’t that much to gaze at, just loads or traffic, speed cameras, traffic “calming” measures and fumes and, besides, you had to keep your eye on the road.

I was getting a little blasé about my twice-weekly one-hour journey to Porcari – it was becoming more and more just a process of getting from A to B. Then I thought: how different this is from that South Circular – let’s take a few snaps on the way and remind myself how other-wordly this journey is – even on the main route. There is an exciting hill route which I wanted to take on the return trip today but unfortunately couldn’t as heavy showers interrupted my journey.

Anyway, the normal route is varied enough and in the following photographs you can spot (among other things) the mediaeval Ponte della Maddalena at Borgo a Mozzano built by Countess Matilda as part of the pilgrim route to Rome, the rough stone memorial on the site of the concentration camp (where thousands of Italian both Jew and gentile were transported to slave-labour factories or Auschwitz), the anti-tank wall built as part of the Gothic Line during WWII, the  settlement of Piaggione built around a now-disused textile factory with its workers’ flats, church and owner’s villa, modelled on places like Bourneville in the UK, the square at Ponte Moriano with its art-deco theatre, the Serchio river entering the plain of Lucca and, finally, the crossing of the Padule fen country before arriving at the factory where I teach business English  to the research and sales team.

It’s sometimes worth looking again at places or routes you are so accustomed to using with a fresh eye. Stopping at random spots and taking pictures can help in this and makes the journey so much more enjoyable. When I looked afterwards at the shots en.route I had taken I realized that I had just touched the surface on only one journey to work  – I didn’t even consider the views of the Convento dell’Angelo on its remote precipice, the  Brancoli valley, Diecimo campanile……. So much here to see and enjoy!

The showers hit again and at Borgo a Mozzano I was forced to seek shelter (I was travelling on my scooter, if you didn’t tweak yet) and there was no better place than the parish church of San Iacopo with its wooden statue of San Bernardino by that great Luccan renaissance sculptor Matteo Civitali and the sensuously beautiful Della Robbia terracotta of the Magdalene. Wonderful things!

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