Buccellato and a walk through Lucca:
We didn’t have long to see Lucca. And, it was already dark when we arrived and parked the car by one of the City gates.
Now, I’ve known the Hedonist for a long time. What I didn’t realise until THIS trip was that his sense of direction is not that dissimilar to mine. That is, Missing.
The point of this short stop, en-route to pick up his wife from Pisa Airport, was to find a famous pastry shop, Taddeucci, where you can buy the ultimate Buccellato, a type of spiced raisin bread for which Lucca is famous. So, with the aid of Google maps we made our way through winding streets and squares towards Taddeucci.
We thought we had a little spare time, and happened upon somewhere that looked interesting and turned out to be rather remarkable. Palazzo Mansi – an amazing example of a Luccan merchant’s mansion. Apparently, at the end of the 17th century the owners turned it into an “official palace” and renovated it according to the then-prevailing Baroque taste. Much of the content remained in situ and now it is a museum full of art and artifacts and unlike many, one where you can take photos. We knew nothing about the background to the museum when we went in and saw a coach in the entrance lobby.
Upstairs there are great collections of Italian art, too extensive to really appreciate in less than an hour.
But, even without the collections of paintings there would have been stunning moments. This contemporary, marble veiled bust placed under a remarkable chandelier was ethereal and ghostly, a bizarre time-game where an apparition of the future appeared in historic setting.
Or this tapestry lined room, reminiscent of the great chateaux of the Loire
And there was the ultimate of all bedrooms, gilded and ornate.
Somewhere that is worth a proper trip rather than our coffee break excursion.
Eventually, thanks to Google Maps we did find Taddeucci, across the square from the Duomo
And, in the window…
In the shop – there was a picture of the Pope with his buccellato, but we were too late and it was ‘finito’.
Buccellato can be found all over Lucca. But Pasticceria Taddeuci produces reportedly the finest in Lucca. So now, we have to go back. We did stop and enjoy a pastry and expresso in the shadow of the Duomo, before we attempted to find our way back to the car. And, that’s where things went wrong. It was the only time we really needed to be somewhere at a particular time, and so inevitably it was the only time we got lost.
Eventually we found the City walls, but, not at the right gate. And, neither of us had any idea which direction to take. You can walk all the way round the walls from the ramparts and had we not been slightly concerned about finding the car in time to reach the airport, the two and half mile walk would probably have been fun. As it was, we set off in what I thought was the wrong direction, but as I had no confidence in my own ability to chose, I stayed silent till asked. And then admitted it felt wrong to me.
The Hedonist had an inspired thought and pulled out the Sat Nav that he’d taken with him to make sure it wasn’t stolen from the car! Directed to take us to our ‘most recent location’ the comforting voice of Tom(asina) took us back to the car, in time to get to Pisa as the flight landed.
The moral, and my tip for travelling around Italy, is to take your Sat Nav with you. My phone kept losing GPS coordinates and eventually ran out of battery. But, Tomasina saved the day and got us home.
We were lucky to have won a complimentary stay in a fabulous luxury villa from TuscanyNow, providers of villas in Tuscany. My thanks to TuscanyNow for such a fabulous chance to visit and get to know this part of Tuscany