we landed in lucca in the pouring rain. as promised, signor pucineeli, our driver, was there to meet us. he was straight out of central casting. an oscar de la renta look alike but with a better tan. in the movie, he would be the guy the american divorcee would end up in bed with on her second night in tuscany. miraculously, all five pieces of luggage, which virgin airlines had kindly checked in, all the way through from new york to pisa,(bypassing entirely our stop over in london)arrived and signor pucinelli, true to his word was driving the largest mercedes we had ever seen. even hitler would have been embarrassed to have been seen tooling around in this car. so much for our low key entrance. the only glitch in our otherwise perfect arrival was that the woman who was supposed to meet us at our apartment was not answering her phone. fortunately, i had the number of the owner of our building, who happened to live in the building. he is, and will hereafter, be known as the grandfather. the grandfather, signor raffaelli, a john laraquette dead ringer, with a camel hair coat over his shoulders, and in broken english, welcomed us into our new home. a moment later, benadetto, his daughter, a shy, sweet english speaker who bore no resemblance to anyone famous i could think of, arrived and gave us the tour. since the building itself is 500 years old, there were a lot of rules pertaining to electricity. needless to say, five minutes after they left, in an attempt to set up our phone, computers, ipad, etc. we managed to blow the lights out in
the entire place. thirty seconds later, the grandfather was back. this time he was accompanied by umberto. umberto would turn out to be our best friend. he was the electrician, played by every handyman on every sitcom that has ever been on tv. while not speaking a single word of english, he fixed the lights, phone, computers and was coming back the next day with a new something for howard’s laptop.
after all the excitement of our arrival, before we knew it it was time for dinner. the rain had stopped and we walked just a few blocks to a magical restaurant for an amazing meal. in bed by eleven and slept eleven hours straight. we woke this morning to glorious sunshine and was able o really appreciate the beauty of our garden. so far, lucca is everything we had hoped for. already it is going too fast.