Shopping Around

As usual for Italy, a trip to Lucca’s (or any other town’s market) market turns out to be much, much more. If you hadn’t already realised, there’s a big market stretching from Porta Elisa to Porta San Iacopo every Wednesday morning. The stalls are arranged in a slightly haphazard way: cheeses and hams are lodged next to second-hand dress counters and Moroccan bags are found next to flowers but that’s part of the market’s charm: one finds things one would never think of looking for ( although I would say some of the best flower sellers are outside Porta San Iacopo). I picked up some petunias and a bread cutting board on this occasion.

This delightful pair of terriers was not for sale but clearly looking for their favourite eats in the market:

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We bought some fried mozzarella balls (fantastic!), polenta and the best leg of chicken we’ve tasted for a long time from one of the mobile rosticcierie and had a pleasant picnic on the sunny greensward surrounding Lucca’s magnificent walls.

By the market is a house to die for – if I could live within Lucca’s walls this would be the place for me – a magnificent semi art-nouveau house dated around 1902:

We then ambled around Lucca going down that beautiful street called IL Fosso (named after the canal in its centre which at certain times of the year is full of carp and trout). By chance, (as usual in Lucca) we entered a church which had a very interesting ethnographical museum attached to it. We realised this church belonged to a missionary order and on a wall was a poignant reminder of how many priests have been killed (so many in the last few years by Muslim extremists) by fanatics in our world. It almost seemed as if there was now a second wave of Christian persecution equivalent to those we’d heard about when singing in Peters’ basilica Rome (which after all was erected on the site of the circus constructed by Nero where fun was to be had by watching Christians being thrown to the lions).

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It was a pity that there were no labels on the exhibits on the museum exhibits and no-one there to explain it to us. Clearly, the missionary work starts at home here since outside the church there was a group of refugees gathering to wait for a weekly distribution of clothing the church organises.

Our walk carried on visiting a good artist-musician friend who lives in a superb old Luccan house – one side of it faces Via San Nicolao, the other the fosso. The house is filled with wonderful instruments including psalteries. Mandola, guitars both Spanish and Portuguese, mandolins and live instruments too (in the form of canaries). It is truly a wonderful example of an old Luccan dwelling and it is always a pleasure for us to visit it (and have a glass of wine too!).

We continued our walk on visiting the Prencipe exhibition (which I have already described in my post at As it was such a beautiful day we decided we’d return home over the Pizzorne and visit that heavenly place which we prefer to keep secret but which we have already described at my post at

As we were basking in the warm sun, a group of ladies arrived to do some gardening and look after the beautiful begonias which are now flowering in time for May, the Marian month – the month of the Virgin Mary when festivities will take place there.

We climbed up to the Pizzorne plateau through beautiful forests and equally beautiful views of the Luccan plain before descending to a castle which has only recently been saved from the temperate forest jungle in which it was hidden (see my post at ) and which is so magnificently sited.

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We had a well-earned Campari and coffee at Villa Basilica’s only bar before climbing up again over the Trebbio pass and then landing back on the valley floor at Bagni di Lucca where stracciatella and torroncino  ices were gratefully licked by us .

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And then on to see more friends and then home for a spot of supper before going to Ghivizzano Castello for our last rehearsal before Easter day with our lovely choir which has been so wonderfully feted after its debut with Pope Francis at Saint Peters basilica only a couple of weeks ago.

A shopping trip? How can any day in this heavenly country ever reduce itself to a simple shopping trip? There are so many temptation on the way and most of them do one a world of good!

O yes, I forgot the trip to Bagni di delightful hairdressing salon at Cherubini’s too after the ice-cream…

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One thought on “Shopping Around

  1. Well it was a day indeed packed full of many to dos fulfilled like the photo of our friends deceased beloved cat a nice memento requested by him and delivered the very next day it delighted all that were present and noone present dared mention the word gatto which was the winning word that linked all 5 words in the tv competition it was rather like a farce comedy but tinged with great sadness as a dear cat friend was no more reduced just to a photographic memory memoire a very valid one at that! As for my hairdresser is very fair and clean and they did actually just cut about 3 inches considering I had already cut the same so that is now 6 inches gone in a matter of a day still it will regrow and not as drastic as a shaved head that would take considrably longer then I had an idea one of those long lasting plaits was executed with skill and ease no combing or teasing of hair for a few days just laquer or gel to keep the flying hair in place well I feel like I have a friendly creature with a long tail hugging my central head strange feeling to redo this solo will be most difficult but I will have a go my version else I will turn up at the salon again considering that I have had only 4 visits in 26 years always managed my own hair I have saved quite a lot of time and money but I must admit that it is nice to go to the local salon and feel slightly pampered now and then that is once in every 6 years! So to achieve this plait is to gather hairs on the top and each plait strand is gathered as you go down the plait till you reach the halfway mark when you continue to plait in the normal way seems easy peasy the way it was done very swiftly and painless but I think it will be a lot harder to achieve the same or similar oneself!

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