Of Sanctuaries and Service points

Although it is possible to by-pass Lucca on its southern flank using that stretch of the Autostrada del mare which goes from Capannori towards Pisa Nord there is no confirmed outer circular road such as one finds in other medium to large Italian cities like Padova, Parma and, of course Rome (whose Grande Raccordo Anulare has become the subject of a very intriguing and successful recent film “Sacro GRA” by Gianfranco Rosi.)

Of course, the nineteenth century layout of a road encircling Lucca and allowing one to view the walls magnificently, produced the first ring road round the city but, as anyone knows who hits it, especially at peak times, it can be very trafficked indeed.

A beautiful and unofficial “southern” by-pass to Lucca is that which goes from Porcari all the way through to Montuolo. It’s a great route to use from “my” paint factory and I can use any number of side roads to get into Lucca if I want to.

The road, which weaves its way through delightful villages like Verciano takes a little navigation to follow but it’s a great alternative to the usual Via Romana and Via Pesciatina. There are some interesting wayside shrines on the way – the piana equivalent of the Maestine one finds in the mountains – and some of them are quite delightfully frescoed.

There are also some very fine liberty-style houses too.

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It’s a trend that many Lucchesi are rediscovering the old farmhouses here. In particular the fienili, characterised by their aerated brick openings once used to allow the wind to dry the hay, have often been converted quite skilfully into houses.

I don’t know what the Italian regulations about zoning are. There are some incongruous placements of factories next to churches and houses next to industrial plants in many places which truly spoil that rural feel. Perhaps the regulations are tighter now. Although not having the scenic drama of Garfagnana or the Pisan Mountain the piana lucchese is a beautiful part of the province and should be safeguarded against encroaching urbanization. I particularly hope the view of the magnificent sweep of Nottolini’s aqueduct (mentioned in a previous post) will always be preserved.

We took this road yesterday to reach the suburb to San Concordio where, in via Della Formica, is one of the most useful shops we know in Lucca – “Lucca service”. Ever been hankering after a replacement beaker for your food mixer? Could that handle ever be found for your pasta machine? Might your vacuum cleaner ever be restored to its full sucking glory? If these are question you sometimes ask then “Lucca service” is the shop you’ve been looking for in terms of spares, service and repairs.



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