Hidden Tuscany: Walk and talk

With the arrival of spring, many communities have run/walk events to raise money for good causes or just to have fun. You can see the flyers posted all over, like this one:

These events are mostly non-competitive, great for all ages and a wonderful way to see the surrounding areas of Tuscany. Each is very different, some well organized and others well, not so much! A recent walk in the center of Capanori had people walking around every which way, most with no idea where they were supposed to go! But not to worry, everyone had fun, enjoyed the conversation and the walk and the benefits of the event went to local Lions Clubs throughout the region.

For those who do organized walks or run in the United States, be prepared: These aren’t quite as serious as the ones in the United States. But the good news is they don’t cost near as much either! Typically they are about €3. Just walk up, find a table of local volunteers and get a sticker. You’re in!

The other thing that is very different is true Italian culture is evident throughout. The vendors with booths at the party after the walk include local products from honey to prosciutto or even wine! You won’t find many “energy bars” offered here. Snacks along the way often include lemons, chocolate even fried bread. One event offered a nice bean soup for participants when they finished. The bags for walkers at the end don’t include fancy products. Instead, I’ve seen gifts of pasta and even toilet paper! Yes, very different from America, I’d imagine.

This past Saturday, on a gorgeous Spring day, more than a 1,000 people arrived in Marlia (just 6 KM north of Lucca) for a walk of either 3km, 8 km, or 11 km, that wandered through the villas in the hilly region. Look at these beautiful views and the amazing villas.

 

These walks are a great way to enjoy the local community. You can practice your Italian by listening to the lively conversation. You can experience the mix of generations and enjoy seeing parts of the region that aren’t the normal tourist experience.

And for those interested in seeing the same villas as this walk, should come to Lucca on April 28 for a marvelous annual event repeats this walk with so much more. It’s called the Marcia delle Ville and it will include thousands of people walking the hills of this region. All the Villas offer free admission inside and walkers can go as short as 7km and as long as 28km to tour these amazing structures of historic Lucchese culture.

Whenever you come to Lucca, check out the flyers, find a walk and experience the community like a local! You’ll not be disappointed.