Rainy days can still be fun days

Not all our walking tours are always under the Tuscan sun!  Tuscan rain happens here, especially in Lucca. Lucca has a wonderful Meditteranean climate.  However, Lucca can also be very rainy.  I think the reason for our rainy days is a combination of being close to the mountains to the north, but still close to the sea. Whatever the reason, we benefit from the rainfall and it doesn’t do much to dampen the city’s charm. Our city is so green all year round and we have plenty of sun to enjoy as well.

I try to keep an eye on the weather forecast so that I am ready in case of any rain.  I keep my little umbrella buried in my purse, just in case.  And it has happened a few times that I got caught without one as the rains came down. My hair gets spoiled, my shoes are soaked, and I feel the dampness all over while doing a tour! That is not as pleasant as it should for both me or the guests that are on my tour.

Take a look at the photo. It was a wet rainy day, but we prepared ourselves for the rain.  The photo is of myself and the tour escort. You can see from our smiling faces that taking a tour even on a rainy day that Lucca is still beautiful! In fact, it can be a great day for a tour because we will get you out of the rain into our amazing churches, museums and shops. There is no reason to let a little rain spoil a great vacation!

Take a stroll to authentic Tuscany

“You don’t need to go far from Lucca’s historic center to find the beautiful countryside that comes to mind when first think of Tuscany. Olive groves, vineyards, cypress trees, soft rolling hills, and magnificent villas surround the city.  With a very short drive, or a long pleasant stroll beyond the city and you can be in the middle of this country paradise. But be careful. It’s true that many fall in love at first sight!

Tuscany’s hillsides are home to wonderful vineyards and olive groves. Many places welcome visitors for tastings, just as many roadside trattorias offer wonderful local food. This is place to experience Tuscany!

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If you would like help arranging a tour, please contact me. I’d love to help you travel like a local! And after you’ve fallen in love with Tuscany, you may want to rent or buy a place of your own. We can help with that, too!

I look forward to meeting you the next time you visit. Be sure to take a little side trip to Lucca’ss most beautiful countryside.  You too will feel like I do!

Festivity of Corpus Domini for all of Italy

If you happen to be in Italy during the latter part of May and the beginning of June (this year the festival is June 3) you may be lucky enough to experience the Catholic Festivity of Corpus Domini.

The story of this festival started many centuries ago, back in the 13th century. During the year 1263, a bohemian priest on his pilgrimage to Rome stopped to say mass in Bolsena (a province of Viterbo). While he was distributing the host (the communion bread, which is the body of Christ in Catholic ceremonies), he saw a few drops of blood, which came from the bread itself. Pope Urbano came to know of this and instituted the festivity in honour of the “Body of Christ,” or Corpus Domani.

The festival is so important that it is now celebrated all over Italy in the Catholic churches. It begins with a religious procession along a route covered with fresh flowers. Once it is finished, the local parish priest, dressed in the festive clothes of the Catholic Church and holding the chalice containing the holy Eucharist, will walk on the flowers.

When I was a little girl, these local processions were very simply decorated with spring flowers from the fields that we children used to pick and put in big wooden baskets. Then, the adults would spread them along the route. It is a beautiful tradition, that still exists to this day. Almost all parish churches will create their “fiorita” (flower procession).

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It is work done by town volunteers who often work overnight to have it ready for the afternoon procession. Some are simple and some are very intricate and sophisticated, but always with religious themes as the subject.

One of the most important traditions in Lucca is within the city of Camaiore. Here, the fiorita is designed with fresh flowers, sawdust, sand and other materials. Each year marks a different design but always with a religious theme.  

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Catholic or not, if you experience the beauty, art and pageantry of this Festivity, I think you will agree with me that it is something not to miss!

A good man is hard to find

But not in Florence! The beauty of Michaelangelo’s David is a Tuscany treasure that must be experienced in person. Florence is the epicenter of the Rennaisance, home to incredible art, literature, architecture, science and history. Many say of all the brilliant works to be seen, The David stands above them all.

You can decide for yourself with so much to see and do, whether you want to see as much as possible in one day or want to carve out more time in this gem of a city. Contact me for a 30-minute pre-holiday preparation to learn my tips for visiting these great works of art, avoiding lines and crowds (as much as possible) and still having time for a wonderful meal, a cafe or (and!) a gelato. I can also offer you a customized guided tour.

I look forward to hearing from you.

The surprising gem of historic Lucca

In a one-of-a-kind region like Tuscana, the city of Lucca is a gem, like the diamond at the center of a beautiful wedding ring.

The amazing walls that surround the Centro Historico, provide a ribbon of natural beauty around a city as if protecting the deep treasures of art, history and cuisine that reside within.

This picturesque city can be enjoyed walking through the narrow cobblestone roads or with a bike tour that captures beautiful view spots.

Getting to know Lucca can be a very memorable experience.  Many of you have probably never heard of Lucca, or maybe someone just mentioned it to you.  You will be surprised if you decide to spend some time here. It’s a small city, but it lacks in nothing. This Great location is close to other vital areas of Tuscany like the Pisa International Airport, beautiful beaches and the nearby mountains.  

The historical center is a beautiful place to stay for your first time in Lucca. Pick among the many hotels, BnBs, and vacation properties. The city will surprise you in a very positive way. If you decide to stay in the town center, there is no need for a car. Just put on your comfortable walking shoes or rent a bike and start enjoying the good Italian life.

Lucca offers many excellent restaurants, café’s (no Starbucks), museums and theatre (it’s not Broadway). UNESCO recognises the city as the city of music. Once you have discovered the historical center, plan on visiting its countryside covered by lush vegetation, vineyards, and olive trees. Take a train to the Garfagnana mountains and stop for lunch in one of the many villages. And when you are in the mood for a large city, hop on the train and go to Florence or Pisa to enjoy the wonders of the Renaissance. Coming to Lucca can indeed be an experience!

Visit my tours page to add your name to the likes of Puccini, Dante, and even Julius Ceaser himself, all of whom make up part of the incredible history and culture of Lucca.

Celebrate the arts, nature in Lucca

Throughout the year, Lucca is home to many wonderful events that celebrate the beauty of Tuscany and the culture that it has nurtured for centuries. Here is a quick list of some of my favourites, with links for you to use to learn more.

Contact me to arrange a 30-minute pre-vacation consultation. I can help you plan your Tuscan holiday. I end every consultation by sending you a fact sheet of useful information full of local insight that will save you time and money.