On September 2nd, CEA took all of us on our first field trip.  Although I am directionally challenged about the location of towns in Tuscany, my map is telling me that Lucca is northwest of Firenze, near Viareggio (Tuscany’s main beach town).  Lucca is the birthplace of Puccini and is best known for its defensive city walls dating from the Renaissance, some of the best preserved in Europe.


 The school rented bikes for all of us and let us ride around by the entrance to the town while we waited for everyone to get a bike.



 Once everyone had a bike, we were split into groups and assigned a guide.  We rode through the town first, through Piazza Napoleone to Piazza San Martino.  San Martino was built in the 11th century.  It has a level of arches at the entrance, and three more levels of arcades and statues above that in the Romanesque style.  The campanile (bell tower) is two different colors.  It was originally built in 1060 as a defensive tower, but in 1261, when it was joined to the cathedral, they added two more levels.



 Martina, one of CEA’s professors, tried to give us an art history lesson about the facade of the church, but it didn’t go too well.  For example, she pointed up at a horse statue on the church and said, “Who is that riding the horse?”  Someone said, “Jesus.”

I still don’t know who was riding the horse.

One cool thing about the cathedral was the Labyrinth of Sin just outside the door on one of the columns.  These were often carved just outside churches to remind churchgoers that the only way out of the maze was through Christ.


 After we left San Martino, we were led up onto the city walls.  It was really nice to ride around in the fresh air and out of the city.  There were beautiful views of Lucca, too, even though I had no idea where were were going.



 We got off the walls to see San Michele, another Romanesque cathedral.  The facade is beautiful, with a huge gold and blue Jesus on the front.


 The best thing about San Michele, though, was Santa Zita.  She was a little peasant girl that stole a bunch of bread for her family after curfew.  When she was stopped by the authorities, and they asked what was bundled in her skirt, she said she had flowers, even though she knew they were going to ask to see them.  But when they asked, and she unrolled the bundle in her skirt, all the bread had turned into flowers.

Santa Zita is a beautiful girl.  She’s aged really well.


We rode our bikes to Piazza del Mercato, which is famous for being an oval piazza, rather than square.  It’s round because it used to be the Roman amphitheater.


 We were allowed to walk around for about an hour.  Our group pretty much stayed together, and we found a mother cat and her kittens.  We wanted to go up to the top of Torre del Guinigi, but we didn’t have any money.  It’s supposed to be pretty cool though.  It’s a medieval tower with oak trees growing out of the top of it.


For lunch we got a three-course lunch at a restaurant.  The first course was pasta, second was a meat plate, but I got what can only be described as a carrot salad because I’m vegetarian.  For dessert we got two kinds of gelato.  One was some kind of custard flavor, and the other was lemon.  I sat with a girl named Casey who ended up being super cool and was my buddy in Venice later.  This is us on our way back to Firenze:



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Shelley
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 16:39:25

    Would love to go here one day, especially to see Santa Zita. You know how much I enjoy seeing old dead people.


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