We tumbled briefly out of the storybook pages. The state road cut a swath from Volterra north to Lucca. It was busy and no shoulder for the most part, but it was flat. It was also fast and we decided a direct route would be best to cover 42 miles and still give us ample time to explore Lucca.
Suddenly, urban development appeared out of nowhere … businesses, store fronts, light industry lined the state road, like “normal” towns. It was a bit of a shock to see urban sprawl after 19 days of storybook bliss.
Ten miles from Lucca, the road quieted and the land regained its character, the houses were colorful and jasmine perfumed the air in the small villages. Ahead, I could see the Apuan Mountains towering over the green foothills.
From the start, Lucca charmed me. Lucca is a beautiful walled city, dating back to Roman times, and inhabited for more than two thousand years. Today, it bustles with shops, cafes and restaurants in a friendly, inviting atmosphere.
The magic of Lucca erased our tiredness and we walked the perimeter of the wall and through the streets and alleys, delighted at every turn. The town emanates warmth and its local colors stole our hearts.