Or to sit under trees upon a tower

 in Lucca, Tuscany, in Italy there is a tower. No ordinary tower, but a special one, overgrown by trees. Torre Guinigi and it’s trees are part of the centuries of history of Lucca  and they show it. But Lucca’s historical past meets us at every turn …

Mmmh … That was delecious! After I enjoyed my Ciabatta down to the last crumb, I’m fit and recovered again for the next highlights of Lucca … Cosy squares, art historical uniques and a really special viewpoint – the actual landmark of Lucca are waiting for me … Highlights: Church San Michele in Foro, Birth place of Giacomo Puccini, Piazza Napoleone und Palazzo Ducale, the Cathedrale San Martino and it’s “Volto Santo”, and the Torre Guinigi and it’s holm oaks …

Are you also ready for another walk through Lucca? If you also want to experience a special tower, come with me to the next journey in your mind to the Torre Guinigi! (best with earphones). The story for reading and the photos you find below ⇓

Links to the used music- and soundfiles: http://audiyou.de Music “Famous Moments Medley” and “Paris – Spread your Wings” composed by Markus Hildebrandt with kind approval
The church San Michele in Foro on the same namend square – which has the shape of a Roman forum

The church of San Michele in Foro, whose feet I sit is so gorgeous and delicate designed that, on its external optics, it seems to be the cathedral. But it isn’t… St. Michael in the Forum, despite its grandeur and rich variety of forms façade is “only” the second important church in Lucca. Inside just countless technicians are at work and prepare the technology for an evening concert. Therefore – no admittance for me.

Too bad …

the impressive facade of the church

So I stroll on, but on the way towards the cathedral I’m doing some detour, once left, once right – because I love the streets so much. A little further to go along the streets open to a piazza built completely enclosed by houses, and there he is, the master of the great operas in person: Giacomo Puccini.  His bronze statue stands in front of his birthplace at Corte San Lorenzo, where he spent his childhood and where a museum about his family and his life is housed now. Puccini was not a beloved Son of Lucca for a long time, the appointment as the maestro of the cathedral`s organ, as was his father, was denied. Why Puccini had such a difficult relationship with his hometown Lucca? More on that in post: Il mio nome: Puccini – la mia citta: Lucca

Mio nome: Puccini. Mia città: Lucca


A tower with green thickets …

Towards the cathedral I notice a tower again, which dominates many roofs and has a strange look. From below it looks as if it has a hood of green thicket on. Really! It may sound strange, but from a distance you can see only a green leaves tangle sticking out over the roofs …

And again the tower with thickets … Simply overlooked!

My tour leads me further on the Piazza Napoleone in front of Palazzo Ducale, the former Duke’s Palace and current seat of government of the province of Lucca. The better-known name of the square, Piazza Grande, is the more accurate description, because the place is huge. Finally, here was the fortress Augusta in the 14th century. Today the Piazza Napoleone is surrounded by majestic plane trees, – street cafes and wooden benches invite you to linger, and the big, open space seems as created for events and concerts. Today there is colorful and lively market activity, stalls with crafts and decorative items, but also with everyday objects and foods for the weekly shopping of the residents. In summer, large concerts of international stars will be held, with this setting they really must be an experience.

Piazza Napoleone or Piazza Grande? No matter, both is fitting for this huge square
The way to the cathedral passes by many other churches …

After further bummle a little over the square past the market stalls through the streets, I am soon in front of the Cathedral of San Martino, the true cathedral of Lucca. Its magnificent façade was designed on the model of Pisa, the Campanile has two colors (brown top and bottom white) and the interior with impressive ceiling paintings decorated.

The Duomo of Lucca: San Martino – It’s brown – white tower is unique and the facade is built on the model of Pisa
Wunderful paintings on the ceiling

But the special sanctuary of the cathedral is the “Holy Face”,  – that established in the Middle Ages wooden crucifix represents Jesus in triumph and was in the Middle Ages one of the main pilgrimage destinations, as it as reliquary for parts of the cross base, the crown of thorns and of Jesus’ garment serves. I stand at the octagonal small temple that pays tribute to the “Holy Face” and protect it. Finally, the cathedral was specially built to accommodate the cross appropriate. I imagine, as early as the 8th century the Holy Face arrived in Lucca and was annually carried in grand procession in May through the streets. Hard to imagine, however, that the Holy Face was already created by Nicodemus, a contemporary of Jesus. But as I stand in front of the shrine, it would be really nice if some legends would be true …

The Volto Santo in its temple
The sanctuary of Lucca since the 8th century

After visiting the cathedral, I decide to watch this special tower with it`s green hood. The Guinigi Tower, named after the family which built it as a residential tower to the adjacent houses and palazzos , as it was usual for rich families as a sign of wealth, and this is how the stairwell looks like. This is not a dark, narrow, creaking staircase as usual in watchtowers but a wide brick staircase. The tower is built of stone and brick, the steps are wide and of comfortable height and the walls are pierced repeatedly from skylights and windows. Very pleasant for me blind chicken with vertigo … Because I tolerate now and then a little break to accomplish at least 230 steps , I use the breathetaking breaks to admire the numerous wall decorations. Crests, paintings, flags … Only the final steps are difficult to manage, they are made of metal and are steeper and narrower than the stairs.

The tower with thickets from underneath :o)

But when I finally stretch out my head out of the hatch of the output in almost 45 meters height, I know immediately why the rise was definitely worth it (also if the staircase was not as convenient and exciting). The sight is simply amazing !!!

The trees of Torre Guinigi – really old stone oaks

Ancient, gnarled oaks weigh their leaves in the wind. Its branches grow out over the edge of the tower and its roots cling solidly to dry, sandy soil in stone troughs,around and in the middle through them runs the path.

At the edge I sit comfortably on the bezel of the trees, enjoy the rustling of leaves above me, the chirping of birds, the play of light of the sun rays falling through the leaves, and of course the spectacular views.

Now I realize why Lucca is also called the “city of the 99 churches”. So many are not, but still numerous steeples protrude from the roofs maze.

How wonderful this sight must have been in the Middle Ages? In the early 14th century in Lucca there were more than 250 such residential towers and numerous other bell towers of churches. Later most of them were demolished or otherwise destroyed, the Guinigi Tower is the only residential tower of Lucca remained intact.

In exchange the remaining steeples radiate together with the sinking sun . Directly opposite I clearly see the great bell of the Torre delle Ore, a little further away the white-brown tower of the Cathedral of St. Martin.

Exactly opposite – the Torre delle Ore and it’s bell
The cathedral St. Martin and the roofs of the town are under my feet

The red tile roofs of the houses spread out under me like a corrugated carpet, all bathed in soft, warm light, framed by a green belt, the planted city walls. The rolling hills behind look like sprung from a painting, puffy clouds collect on some slopes without dimming the bright blue sky.

The planted city wall encloses like a green ring the old town
The golden light of the sinking sun  – dreamlike!
Like cotton balls some clouds collect an the slopes of the green hills

The oaks, under which I sit so comfortably were planted as a sign of rebirth, a visible signal that the family Guinigi does not give up and will rise again to grow as how trees it do throughout the seasons and the passing centuries. And these trees are still here …

They wait with patience and persistence, let the sun rays penetrate through their bark in their trunk and let their insides warm. And me? Up here, I catch the sunbeams and I am – happy!

“Happiness is like a sunbeam. If you want to catch it, you can’t make it. 

But if you wait patiently, then it warms you through your skin to your bones – and keeps your insides permanently warmed. “(Freyja Thorulfsdottir, German writer of lyrics and poems)

Great that you are here! Thank you for listening / reading! 

Have you ever been to Lucca? What impression did you get about Lucca because of my story? I’m looking forward to reading your comments!

I wish you many wonderful experiences, see you at the next “journey in your mind” by Travel sounds … Come with me …

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