Having passed by Lucca a couple of times, only stopping for a moment in 2010, I knew I wanted to visit again. The plan this time was to ride bikes on the wall encircling the town, built in the 11th and 12th century. https://brunelleschi.imss.fi.it/itineraries/place/TheWallsOfLucca.html Lucca sits in Tuscany, a region known for its rich history, great wines, and amazing food.
For 8 euro an hour a bike can be rented just outside the wall. It comes with a bell and a map of the old part of town within the walls. The wall is now a place to take a leisurely walk, bike ride, or sit and have a picnic under one of the plentiful trees. The ride should take 25 minutes, but of course we had to stop and take pictures.
Puccini, one of my favorite composers was from Lucca. Puccini is famous for the Operas La Boheme, Madame Butterfly, Tosca, and Turandot. I especially love to hear Andrea Bocelli, and Pavarotti sing his music. As I rode the bike I pictured Puccini taking a stroll on the wall to bring him inspiration, or just to clear his head before heading back into work. I plan to one day make it back there to visit inside the walls.
It is a short ride to the town of Pisa. Though we did not tour the city itself, there is much to see. Pisa was also ruled by various groups over the years; the Greeks, Etruscans, Venetians, Romans, Vikings and many more left their mark. Its proximity to the sea made it a good place to occupy for trade, and warfare.
Pisa is known for the leaning bell tower. The leaning is due to the unstable earth below it. There are bands around it to assess any movement in it. Tourists can be seen having their photo taken, looking as if they are holding it up. The climb of leaning tower of Pisa is not for the weak hearted and they warn you of this. The nearly 300 steps to get to the top circle around the tower. The view of the city is spectacular; a nice reward for the climb. There is a cloak room to leave your bags behind, and they insist you do so. A ticket can be bought there, but it is recommended to buy online. They have many time slots to chose from and you should get there early to get in line.
There are many restaurants close by to get a bite to eat while you wait for your time. We opted for pizza. It was fabulous!
The Cathedral, according to a guide I overheard, said there were once Roman ruins here. The builders used the ruins in the building of the church. If you look, Roman writing can be seen on the marble that was used. Look for more pictures in the gallery.