lucca is a medieval walled city. the wall that the surrounds the city is about four freeway lanes wide and runs for two and a half miles around the perimeter of lucca. it is a cross between the high line, central park and the bois de bologne. (forgive me fracophiles, i am sure i misspelled that). it is beautiful beyond belief with magnificent canopies of trees and benches scattered everywhere to sit and take in the views. people are strolling, jogging, bike riding and wheeling baby carriages. everywhere you look there is something incredible to see from the amazing gardens of luccan private homes in one direction to the old fortifications of the ancient battlements that once protected the city. in between is an outrageous botanical garden and every quarter of a mile or so are steps and ramps to allow both walkers and riders easy on and off access back into lucca itself. if you were walking the wall for exercise you could probably do it in forty-five minutes or so. we took an hour and a half. how could you not stop and look at every lilac bush and every smiling baby just learning to walk? the people of this city are so incredibly friendly and generous and even when they don’t speak a word of english they go out of their way to try and help you. we walked for hours today and ended up, after the wall, in the antiques district. unfortunately, it was one o’clock and everything was closed, as most stores close between one and four, but it gave us a chance to stop for a bite and go home for a well deserved nap. now that we know where the antiques district is we will return, next time during the right hours. on the way home for our nap we were stopped on our square by a hearty buon giorno! it was the maestro from the concert the night before. he remembered us and remembered that howard had taken a lot of photos. he asked if howard could email him some. then he asked where we were from. when we told him california he said that was the only part of the united states that mattered. san francisco, los angeles and san diego. i thing he was a little bit full of shit and a lot full of himself but he was our first new friend (with the exception of umberto the electrician and the cast of characters who live in our building) and he did invite us to his next concert in june. we shall see. speaking of new friends, i had heard that it was supposed to rain tomorrow and since most things are closed on sunday anyway, i decided that we should try to buy some movies to watch. we went into a music store the next square over from ours, and sure enough they had a wall full of videos, over half of which were in english. there was a man there who didn’t actually work there, he was just a friend of the owners and loved film and music and liked to hang out in the store when he wasn’t doing his actual job which was repping a line of women’s shoes. at any rate, he spoke perfect english and helped us pick out a film. we also discovered that this very square was where the summer concerts were held. this year it is tom petty, nora jones, duran duran, tony bennett and a whole bunch of others i am too old to know. we will probably be able to hear most of them from our garden.
we came home with our new movie only to discover that our tv was broken which meant another call to our landlord, the sad eyed, with the cancer in the stomach and the daughter bernadetto and the crazy ex-wife, rafaelli. we feel so badly because we are yet another burden to him, but call him we must. he arrives with bernadetto, another tv, and a tv repairman who look so much like our new best friend, the electrician umberto from the other day, that howard practically embraces him before we realize that he is an entirely different man. he switches out the tv’s, they leave and we walk about a quarter of a mile, to another charming restaurant, for yet another yummy dinner, and another delicious and CHEAP bottle of wine and walk home to bed. the good news about living in a city with no cars is that you get to walk a lot. the bad news about living in a city with no cars is that you get to walk so much that you take naps during the day and that is why i am up at 1:30 in the morning typing a blog. before writing the blog, i tried to teach myself italian by watching their version of late night home shopping network. i don’t think it worked, but i do think i might have bought my self a six piece set of turquoise plastic luggage.