Italy – Firenze to Lucca Sept 23, 2014

Up bright and early as our taxi will pick us up at 7:30am to take us to the Accademia to see the statue of David. The taxi is prompt and 3 of us take the first car. It was quite the ride, cutting through rush hour traffic, through a stop sign and in front of a bus – yikes – all in a days work for an Italian driver!

We arrive and stand in front of the reserved window sign, however realize later we are in the group area and “possibly” where we should be. There were several tour guides with larger groups juggling to all be first when they opened the doors. Also a HUGE lineup was under the ‘hoping to get tickets today’ sign.

Finally at 8:15am, the door opens and the gentleman waves in the tour leaders and our group of 6 and then closes the door. We were thrilled as we were a jump ahead of the masses. I waited while the tour leader in front of me had about 200 tickets printed and it was our turn! In we walked and there it was, the lovely statue of David in its glory and barely a sole in the rooms. We were so fortunate to take our photos without jostling other people or worrying about heads in the photos. Worth every Euro penny and the hour wait in line!

We spent about an hour or so browsing the artworks. We walked back to the hotel separately some stopping for coffee, others for shopping and then congregated at the Hotel Consigli to check out of our rooms. Lucky Leslie was staying one more night, Marlene is catching a train to Venice and then on to a Mediterranean cruise, Doris, Margie, Dana and I are off by train to Lucca.

We said our goodbyes to Leslie – hated to leave her behind – and caught taxis to the Stazione once again. Marlene’s train was right on time and we got an train to Lucca 45 minutes earlier. We were so thrilled to be able to reach Lucca earlier until we realized we were on the milk run. Too funny! We all agreed though better to sit ON the train rather than at the station.

The trip went by so quickly and the view from the train is far nicer than from the highway, more intimate as you are closer to the villages, houses and farms. It was a lovely, lovely ride. We arrived in Lucca around 2:30pm and took a taxi to our apartment rental in the old town within the walls. Every where you look there is a beautiful street and fabulous architecture. We instantly fell in love with the place. 

Our two-bedroom apartment at the B&B Magnolia is in a building built in the 16th century! Everything about it was fantastic. It was warm and getting close to 4:00pm so the order of the day was to find the entrance to the Antifeatro (built in 400AD) and find a wine bar that sold Pinot Grigio. What luck, we found one immediately, sat down and were served by the whackiest fellow that was definitely flying high on something! 

As we enjoyed our wine we relaxed and scouted out from our seats where the next shopping spree would be. For the moment we are enjoying the incredible surroundings and each other’s coming, laughing constantly. What a fabulous afternoon!

We eventually meandered through the labyrinth of streets, stopping to take photos or to window shop and founds what looked to be a wonderful restaurant, Osteria Baralla. The sign over the door said since 1860 so Margie and I thought they must be doing it right if they are in business for this long.

We were a few minutes early for opening, however they seated us anyway and took our drink order. We had appys of Asiago cheese with porcini mushrooms and baked veggies. Our main course was pasta with black truffle, Dana had the best pork chop she ever had in her life and Doris had rabbit. It was so delicious and then came dessert. Wow!

We walked a bit to wear off some of our dinner and the made it back to our apartment and to sleep. A wonderful first impression of Lucca.

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