Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Our next port was Livorno, Italy, site of Tuscany's main harbor.  Our guide, Susanna, who was mostly interested in shopping, told us it is similar to Venice, because it has canals.  Okay, sometimes the guide doesn't meet your expectations. 

Maybe she hasn't been to Venice.
Some old city walls and a fort are still present. 

After lunch, we got on a bus and went to a winery for a tasting, then to Lucca.  We passed by acres and acres of sunflowers, and from the bus we were able to see Pisa, and the Leaning Tower. 

Susanna told us that the best photo spot is from what they call the "Japanese area".  My cousin Bob and I dropped our jaws, and said we couldn't believe she made such a racist remark.  This was after her soliloquy about how lucky we were to be on the Regatta, because the chefs on the other ships weren't good.  I'm sure Jacques Pepin, the master chef for Oceania Cruises, would have been more than happy to have her advise him on food preparation.
An aquaduct...oldness everywhere. 

Hilltop villages with medieval towers.  Grape vineyards and olives.

We arrived at Buonamico Winery, and tasted their wines and olive oils, and ate fresh cheeses, fruit, and bread for those who aren't gluten free. 

I will digress for a moment; the countries we visited had no problems with accommodating a Celiac diet.  They understood, and were prepared.
Bob and Chris in the cellar room.  Robert and I were a little jaded, having visited so many CA wineries.  Still, it was fun!

A blurry Robert and Patty...I think it helps camouflage the wrinkles and fat (wishful thinking).

Next stop, Lucca, a medieval city, encircled by a 16th century wall.  The wall was built to defend Lucca from its' enemy, Florence.  This is the outside of the wall.

Now inside the wall, steps lead to the top, which is now a promenade.  Families, babies in strollers, old couples walking hand and hand, use this "park" everyday.


This picture is looking down the wall, on the outside.  You can see an entrance into the city, through the walls, where the truck is.

Other than telling us where the shopping was, our guide had little to offer as far as Lucca history, so were on our own.  She did tell us there was a church that housed the mummified body of a saint.  So off we went, with a poor map and Bob as our leader.
Basilica San Michele in Foro, rebuilt in 1070.

A calliope!  It was beautiful!

I always have to photograph the local horses.

The main square, with houses showing different window styles...Moorish influence.

Narrow streets, very few cars.

Some frescos...I think they were in a store...they're not religious

 A jewelry display.

Interesting art work, made from newspapers.  The installation was in progress.

Eureka...we found the Basilica de San Frediano!  The original church dates back to the 1st half of the 6th century.  This facade was constructed from 1112-1147.

There are multiple chapels.


The main altar.

Ta da, the mummified St. Ziti, who died in 1278.

While eating gelato (we were on a quest to find the best gelato in Italy), I saw this relief work.

Puccini was born in Lucca...I think this is his house...if not, it's a nice building!

Tomorrow, Florence!

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