every time i think that our experience in lucca can’t get much better, it does. after returning from the south of france on thursday, we took friday as a re-entry day – sleeping late, laundry, etc. saturday dawned bright, beautiful, sunny and on the cool side. what a gift! but that was not the only gift of the day. rafaelli, our landlord, and benadetta, his daughter, rang our bell to let us know that they installed a brand new bar-b-que in our back yard. well, that was all chef howard needed to hear. in two minutes he was off on his bicycle to scare up charcoal, marinated chicken, veggies and a ton of other stuff with which to create dinner. he was gone forever, and when he came home he told me it took so long because everywhere he went, people wanted to know where we had been, and why they hadn’t seen us, for close to a week. this is a very small town – not a good place to come if you want to be anonymous, but a wonderful place to live if you want to feel a part of a community.
all of howard’s great bar-b-que plans fell by the wayside when we went out for our afternoon walk. it was about 3:00 and the entire town was suddenly filling up with hundreds of people. “what’s going on”, we asked renaldo, our favorite waiter at the corner trattoria. he told us that that night laura pausini, the most famous famous italian rock star (kind of like a cross between madonna and beyonce) was performing. it was first come first serve (no seating – standing only) into the venue. every entrance to piazza napolean was blocked by gates and sitting behind the gates, waiting patiently, were hundreds and hundreds of teen-agers. it was 3:00, the gates didn’t open until 7:30, and the concert didn’t go on until 9:30, but there they sat with boxes of pizzas and bottles of water. well, we didn’t know who laura pausini was, but we sure weren’t going to miss this happening.
we walked over to our favorite restaurant, giglio, which sat right on the edge of piazza napolean, and asked if we could get a table. we might not be able to see laura pausini, but we could at least hear her. they said they were totally booked, but for us they would find a table, and they did. i swear, the generosity of the people in this town just makes me want to cry. so, once again, as with tom petty, we had a wonderful dinner, a great bottle of wine and listened to wonderful music. unlike tom petty, however, the street surrounding the piazza was crowded with hundreds of people who couldn’t get a ticket. they too were standing around and listening. just as we had finished our dinner, and about four songs before the end of the concert, the guards opened the gates and allowed everyone, including us, into the piazza to see the end of the concert. it was magical.
this morning we woke to, once again, very hot weather. sunday is always a quiet time in lucca, so we took a morning walk, came back to cool down and went out again a few hours later for lunch. it was too hot to sit outside and the few air conditioned restaurants were closed on sunday, so we bought some ham, cheese, bread and tomatoes and went home and had lunch in our air conditioned apartment. then a little nap and then howard went off for a bike ride on the wall. i, having been fighting a migraine all day ( yes virginia, i still get migraines, even in paradise) begged off.
tonight we inaugurate the new bar-b-que. hopefully we don’t set the garden on fire. i shall let you know.