Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lucca's Festival of Antique Camellias

March may seem early to visit Tuscany but for Camellia lovers the hills just East of Lucca are a feast to the eyes. The annual festival of Camellias is centred around the villages of Pieve di Compito and San Andrea di Compito. This unassuming collection of villages hosts one of Europe's most important shows of camellias. Examples of these beautiful plants were first brought to the area in the 16th century by local merchants. These hills harbour one of the most important collections of Camellias.
There are many events that take place over the three weekends of the festival including Japanese tea ceremonies held in the grounds of the beautiful Villa Orso but for me the highlight is wondering around the villagers and being able to visit private gardens. I also made the wonderful and exciting discovery that these hills cultivate fine organic tea, only in very small quantities. For an English girl how exciting is that!

For practical information visit the website on
There is a shuttle bus from Lucca. Ask at the tourist office or you can park your car at either Carraia or Pieve di Compito.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Lucca Springs into Spring with Music and Dance

March is the month Lucca starts to wake up after winter and this weekend the piazzas were filled with music and dance. The citizens could bask in the spring sunshine while watching the students from the Boccherini (Lucca's music school) perform with dancers. What a delightful way to fill a few hours and fuel the spirit.
Young aspiring dancers also came to take part in a dance competition and could be seen roaming the streets of the city with their hair all ready for their performance.