Lucca was a great place to hang out for a week – walled city, quiet or as a quiet as an Italian city can be. Very few cars have permits to drive within the walls so most of the “traffic” problems occur when walking in narrow streets with pedestrians, bicyclists, dog walkers with small and large dogs, baby strollers, delivery trucks and the occasional car. We saw one Belgian car driving down the main shopping street. The passenger looked terrified, chewing on her hands. We’re not sure whether they were supposed to be on that street but the Italians just went with the flow, getting out of their way.
The weekend before we got to Lucca, the Rolling Stones performed outside of the walls in one of the open areas. We were told the city was crazy with 60000 people and all the hotels and restaurants were completely sold out. One lady told us that Lucca negotiated for 2 years to get the Rolling Stones to perform there.
The walls are not what we think of when we say walls. These are very wide – wide enough for cyclists, walkers, runners, a park or two, benches, picnic tables. The Italian life in Lucca seems to swirl around and on the walls.
We rented an apartment via AirBnB in Lucca and it was on the ground floor. It is ALSO across the tiny little street from a Bicycle Rental shop that, unknown to us, rents tandem bikes as well as regular bikes. This part of the city is pedestrian except for bicycles and cars and trucks with special stickers. You can imagine the chaos at times – people, baby carriages, bikes, tiny cars, delivery trucks, store displays, you get the idea.
I have the front window open while I work on the blog and we heard a crash of metal and 2 girls laughing. They had American voices and talked to the bike store lady. Turns out they’d rented a tandem bike and were trying to ride it. The shop worker gave them a few pointers and off they went again only to return in about one minute and tell the shop owner “We give up on the tandem bike. We can’t ride with all these people around . There are too many lives at stake!”