Category Archives: Lucca surroundings

Capannori, Villas, Pievi, small towns, Montecarlo..

Montecarlo, close to Lucca

I was reading a post on an interesting blog called “Around Tuscany”. The post is about 10 places off the beaten path in Tuscany and among them there is Montecarlo, Lucca: good choice! montecarlo_02

By car, you can easily reach Montecarlo as it is only 20 km from Lucca on the top of a hill. Surrounded by Middle Ages walls, enriched by a Fortress, the town center worth a visit both for its beauty and its panorama. And also for some nice shops (shoes and souvenirs) and wine bars where you can taste one of the 19 kinds locally produced.
Don’t miss to stop at the Information Office: you will get information and some glass of wine 🙂

Montecarlo is well know… I cannot say ‘it’s off the beaten path’ as a lot of tourist visit Montecarlo and its environs dotted with farms and olive trees and hills. I can say that it is better to visit Montecarlo with a Qualified Local Guide in order not to miss some special places and some extraordinary tales and information.
Usually a tour to Montecarlo lasts 3 hours and include a wine tasting in some nice farm.

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Feel free to contact me for information about visiting Montecarlo and its environs and farms:

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on Wednesdays… you drink, we drive! :-)

This is your chance to visit a local farm producing an amazing quality of wine (Vin Santo), to have lunch with wine and oil tasting avoiding the use of a car!

My collegue Paola and I will welcome you at the meeting point on Wednesdays at 1 pm, the driver service will be provided by Tau Touring and the farm is Fattoria del Teso in Montecarlo.

On Eventbrite we put more information and if you want to join us, please book on Eventbrite as the tour can take place with a minimum of 8 persons!

you drink, we drive!

wine tasting

wine tasting

Pietrasanta guided tour

Guided tour in Pietrasanta

Meeting point: Pietrasanta train station or the car parking at the back of the station

key of dreams - Ken Yasuda

key of dreams – Ken Yasuda

Duration: 2 or 3 hours

Pietrasanta is an important cultural center and it’s very appreciated by

contemporary artists: some of them live and work in Pietrasanta and their sculptures embellish the city.

Before entering in the historical city center through an ancient gate we will meet the first masterpiece: the “Key of dreams”, a sculpture by Ken Yasuda. Few steps and we will reach the very heart of the old town: Piazza del Duomo, surrounded by the most important religious and residential buildings. The San Martin’s Duomo with an amazing bell tower, precious paintings and many masterpieces from the Renaissence, the Baptistry (Oratorio di San Giacinto) containing two baptismal fonts and the Church of St. Augustine. The Museo dei Bozzetti (the Sketch Museum) is in the ancient convent of this church and it’s worth a visit to understand how artists work nowadays.

Piazza del Duomo

Piazza del Duomo

Walking along the main street of the city, full of shops and nice buildings, we find the Church of Sant’Antonio Abate renewed by Fernando Botero with two big frescoes: Heaven and Hell. Then we will reach Piazza Francesco Crispi with the “Porta della Pace” and Piazza Matteotti with the Botero’s “Warrior”. We will discover sculptures and installations, made by famous artists as Igor Mitoraj, scattered in the city.

Pietrasanta is also the right place for many art workshops and it’s possible to see artisan still working marble and bronze with modern and traditional techniques.

Il Centauro - Igor Mitoraj

Il Centauro – Igor Mitoraj

And, calmly sipping a good espresso in some nice coffee shop, we will enjoy the Pietrasanta charming environment!

Nota bene: entrances to churches and museums may not be allowed depending on local and seasonal reasons. Visit to art workshops depends on the artisans’ availability.

Laltrolato, restaurant in Viareggio

Yesterday evening, after a nice walk along the ‘passeggiata’ in Viareggio we decided to have dinner in the restaurant that was rated at the second place in the Tripadvisor list. I have to say that we tried to go to the first one (we’ve been there a couple of time, I will tell you about in a next post) but it was, as usual, full booked.

laltrolato

laltrolato

But the second rated was a good choice!

The name of the restaurant is ‘Laltrolato’ (the other side) and it is close to the Viareggio docks but not in a panoramic point so when we arrived there, we were a little bit doubtful.. But as soon as you leave the inside area (modern, with conditioned air and closed with big glasses) to reach the garden, you can really forget the lack of panorama.

We walked in a beautiful, charming garden with gazebos with white curtains, design seats, candles till we reach our table.

The staff was kind and nice and we eat well: local products cooked with pleasure and grace, home made bread and pasta, fish, dessert.. I liked everything!

Maybe Alessio can be more accurate about wine (he’s a sommellier) but I really suggest this restaurant! 🙂

Here you can find some (dark) picture of how food was served: nice!!! and good too!

Alessio's appetizer: octopus and potatoes embraced by a slice of toasted bread

Alessio’s appetizer: octopus and potatoes embraced by a slice of toasted bread

my appetizer: big prawn in a tosted slice of bread on tomato sauce

Alessio's main course: maltagliati with mullet, lime and coffee powder

Alessio’s main course: maltagliati with mullet, lime and coffee powder

my main course: black tagliatelle with monkfish (? I'm not sure, in italian is 'rana pescatrice')

my main course: black tagliatelle with monkfish (? I’m not sure, in italian is ‘rana pescatrice’)

Alessio's dessert: alternate levels of yoghurt and peach

Alessio’s dessert: alternate levels of yoghurt and peach

my dessert: white chocolate gelato with strawberry sauce

my dessert: white chocolate gelato with strawberry sauce

Camellias are ready in Borgo!

Today I went to Sant’Andrea di Compito to check the flowering of the Camellias after these days of rain and cold. And there they are! Beautiful, red, pink, big, small flowers… a lot of varieties of Camellias dots the ‘Borgo delle Camelie’, 15 km from Lucca.

During the next 2 week ends in March this area will be closed to traffic and people will be able to stroll everywhere and admire the flowers and the small medieval town. There will be exhibitions, tasting of oil and tea (one can buy the only tea produced in Italy, that’s to say in this town!), information about the products of the area. The Camelietum is a real experience! One will find onerself surrounded by hundreds of plants, leaves, flowers, colours… And then it is also possibile with the same ticket (6 euro per person) to get shuttle to the Villas in the South and in the North of Lucca to stop in many ancient Villas which gardens host Camellias.

But now, enjoy Camellias!

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Lucca from the sky

The local AereoClub has organized a free flight to celebrate the women’s day, so Chiara (a good friend of mine) and I decided to fly! It was a short flight lasting about 30 minutes and it was cloudy but from the small airplane the view was wonderful!

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the Nottolini Acqueduct is a wonderful building, it’s possible to walk along it for kilometres from Lucca to Guamo

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one of the Bastions along the Reinassence Walls of Lucca

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Piazza Anfiteatro, gorgeous!!! A ‘must visit’ in Lucca

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the red roofs of Lucca and Sam Michele Church

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Porta San Jacopo and, under the arrow, our house inside the wall!

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Lucca surroundings look like Chianti, don’t they? 🙂

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Fields waiting for Spring and poplars.In the past 100 poplars were planted when a girl was born, do you know why?

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Back to Tassignano airport!

If you too want to visit Lucca flying with a Tourist Guide, just contact me!

 

Camellias in Compitese

A flower from Japan, the Ccamelia sasanqua Hyriuamellia, is one of the symbols of Lucccamelia sasanqua Hana Jimana.

Beautiful Camellias can be seen everywhere: in the Botanical Garden, in courtyards and gardens, but few people know that the Camellias found a favorable habitat in the surroundings of Lucca.
In the Compitese area, in the nice village named Pieve di Compito hundreds of different Camellia varieties start to bloom now.

Flowering will continue till March and then, the Exhibition of Ancient Camellias of Lucca will be a unique opportunity to enter the gardens of the Villas to admire the incredible shades and shapes of this elegant plant (some specimens are really ancamelia sasanqua Beatrice Emilycient). I will keep you informed about this exhibition.

camelia sasanqua Cleopatra