Friday, January 23, 2015

Lucca Summer Festival 2015

Lucca is now having its seasonal downtime when there are practically no tourists and the city returns to being a quiet backwater. The locals wander looking for bargains in the winter sales and meet for a coffee on a rainy day. I too have had a break from blogging but am now back full of enthusiasm to write about life in our little gem of a city and the surrounding hills.
On the corner of Piazza San Michele, formally the forum in Roman times, there may be no market or political banter on these cold winter days but there are large posters telling the citizens of the delights in stall for the Lucca 2015 Summer festival.

Italians are famous for living life in the piazzas of their cities and in the summer cities put on concerts to bring the crowds into the city in the evening. I love Lucca when there is electricity in the air and the expectation of the tickets holders and also those non-ticket holders who stand around the streets in huddles to listen to the music. This year Lucca is certainly pulling out the stops with famous names the likes of Robbie Williams, Mark Knopfler, Billy Idol, Lenny Kravitz and one of the grand old men of music Elton John himself. This will be I think the third time Elton has been to Lucca since I have lived here. Perhaps this year he will rent Le Mura villa and bring the family! Do you think I should suggest it? Seriously though many of our guests have enjoyed coming down from the hills for an evening of fun in Lucca during the summer festival. The city is buzzing and the locals who are not attending the concert stand around in the narrow streets and piazzas chatting and enjoying a free concert. Some enthusiasts balance on pillars and statues to try and get a glimpse of the performance. I always like to have a nose around the posh tour buses that await these stars, though I was less enthusiastic when I found a bouncer parked in a residents’ parking space!! However live and let live and how wonderful it is to see a happy peaceful crowd just out for a good time on a beautiful summer evening.

 For information and tickets for The Lucca  Summer Festival look at their web site on

And for more information on Le Mura Villa Rental our website is

Hope to meet you dancing and singing this summer in Lucca.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lucca Halloween Half Term Break ( Lucca comics 2014)

Tuscany is a popular destination for half term particularly for those from the UK hoping to hang on to a bit of warmth and extra evening light for another week before snuggling into big jerseys for winter. However those who choose Lucca for a destination might find an unexpected type of tourism as on the first weekend of November strange galactic creatures, comic strip and video game characters prowl the ancient streets and piazzas and strut their stuff on the walls.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Weekend in a Lucca Piazza with High Fashion and Puccini

Piero Ricci just like Karl Lagerfield culminates his show with a bridal gown 

I thought I would have a weekend in the office catching up after a whirlwind visit to London, anyone who has been to my city of origin knows how London buzzes these days, so the idea of a quiet weekend working next to the open window looking out onto the piazza below wasn't an unpleasant thought. However my good intentions to put my life in order was almost put on hold as I discovered that my window was equal to the best seats for the Atelier Ricci fashion Show. Piero Ricci is Lucca's very own Karl Lagerfield. His Ateleir is in one of the many beautiful frescoed palazzos which backs onto our piazza. He is therefore a common sight in our piazza either in the bar drinking a quick coffee or rushing in to buy something in the haberdasher's. In the bar he is always cheerful first thing in the morning and like Karl Lagerfield always dresses in black. His clients are from the best circles and even includes Royals. I found people watching as much fun as that of the week before at the London fashion week even though the scale was rather more intimate but I imagine the coffee from the surrounding bars rather better.

On Sunday morning I tried again to settle at my desk but my attention was drawn by an all male choir singing folk songs under my window as I took a peep I noticed one of Puccini's elegant cars parked in front of his effigy.  A beautiful bouquet had been left on the running board and a red rose at the maestro's feet.

I have left the big city but life in this Lucca Piazza is equally thrilling.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Summer Fun in Lucca including dancing on the walls of San Michele

August 23rd was Lucca’s “Notte Bianca”. Museums stayed open until midnight, many free and there were concerts and events in all the piazzas. We were warned no one would sleep. Therefore there was nothing for it but to launch myself into the heaving crowd in the piazza below.
However being a bit of a party pooper, I decided to go to a free concert given by the string orchestra from the Conservatoire. The music was soothing and I was soon lulled by the mellow sound of beautiful string playing. The final "presto" movement from a divertimento by Mozart however put  enough energy in my step to face the fun. Before doing any more culture I felt in need of a little sugar therefore I stopped off at Pinelli, an historical pasticceria (cake shop) for a little naughty of a almond cake topped with chocolate ganache. On exiting we bumped into friends who reminded us that ballerinas where about to dance on the walls of San Michele.
We entered the piazza just as two pairs of sexy high heels on the end of the most beautiful toned legs appeared. Two dancers dressed in red then danced hanging off ropes as though the marble wall of this ancient church was a dance floor. How they didn’t trip on protruding masonry is a mystery but what a backdrop for movement and music.

There is a legend about how no human could have put the glistening rock on San Michele (that is another post) but I reckon these two dancer could have do so without problems.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dining on the walls of Lucca

This evening as the air started to move at the end of a hot day I had a sudden desire to take an early evening constitutional. I put on my trainers and headed as I often do for the famous ‘Le Mura’ walls of Lucca. I had completely forgotten the significance of this ordinary Friday. I was a little nonplussed to hear the beating of the drums and the sight of the flag throwers in processions with archers and then surprised to find my normal circuit interrupted by what appeared like a low level billowing white cloud hovering like a white river for two kilometres.

 On closer inspection along one side was a line of rather incongruous designery perspex chairs rather more suitable for a fashion boutique than ‘al fresco’ setting. The date then came to me. This evening was the long awaited world record for the longest table. A menu based on tomatoes prepared under the eyes of a famous Lucchese chef to be served to 2,000 people who unlike me had been together enough to buy their tickets in time. The lucky diners would also be served a special commemorative wines produced by local vineyards. Food wine and dining under the stars must be a good way to continue the celebrations of Lucca’s famous ‘Le Mura’ .

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Our View from le Mura Villa Tuscany

Le Mura villa looks over 9 chains of mountains and the Garfagnana national park. We can see the Apuan Alps where great sculptors from Michelangelo to Henry Moore have selected the perfect piece of marble to execute their masterpieces, the little villages that nestle into the hillside opposite, the elegant villas of Bagni di Lucca from a bygone age when the town echoed to the voices of poets and royalty escaping the summer heat of Florence. The mountain river Lima  sparkles in the light. I promised myself when we bought the house that I would never become blasé about  this view and indeed I haven't. Last weekend I took some pictures in the early afternoon while waiting for our guests arrive. Every room shares this amazing panorama except for the family bathroom, which doesn't but even the view from there is rather pretty! It is good sometimes to reflect on how lucky we are.

For more information about Le Mura Villa  visit our website on