yesterday was, we are beginning to learn, a typical sunday in lucca. typical in that each sunday there is something amazing happening in many of the large piazzas within the wall. yesterday morning we awoke to find that the two largest piazzas, piazza napoleon and piazza giglio had been turned into sports venues for the children of lucca. there was one large area set up for gymnastics and one for karate and ping pong and fencing and basketball and tennis and volleyball. in the morning all the children can participate in all the sports and in the afternoon there are competitions complete with enormous loving cups as prizes. this is all done for the children of lucca, not for the tourists, and the whole town turns out.
it was a beautiful, sunny day and, after roaming around watching the kids at play, we stopped into our favorite trattoria for a salad. it turns out that our friend, renaldo, the waiter at the trattoria, had just returned from the hospital where his eighty-two year old mama was not doing so well. italian men love their mama’s so, along with our salade valerian, we got a full blown description of mama’s symptoms. it was only after we left that we realized that renaldo was sharing with us like a friend, not a customer, and as sad as we were for mama, we felt good that we could add renaldo to our list of new buddies in lucca.
after lunch, the whole city turns still as everyone heads home for their naps. we are no exception. about an hour after we fell asleep, i was awoken by the sounds of drumming. not italian, flag throwing drumming, this was more a bahamian, bob marley kind of drumming. i jumped up and barefoot, ran out of the apartment. our building sits right on the piazza san giovani, and to reach it you climb up three stone steps. at the top of the steps are two large carved wooden doors. behind the doors is a huge, stone floored, high ceilinged, lobby. our apartment is in the back off the lobby. i flung open the wooden doors and planted myself in the entry way to see what the drumming was about. i was not disappointed. the piazza was filled with about forty young men and women dressed in black shorts and bright yellow t-shirts. they were each carrying a drum – all different kinds of drums, and they were marching and dancing to the music they were creating. the sound was infectious and hundreds of people had gathered to take photos and dance to the music. you could not help but move to the beat. as i was standing, barefoot in my doorway, swaying and bopping to the sounds of the drums, i looked up just in time to see that a tourist had taken my photo. obviously, i was a good example of a lucchese housewife in the door way of her home.