Wednesday, March 21, 2012
We went on our annual field trip to Lucca this weekend, but believe me when I say I don't mind the repeat. Lucca's meandering streets filled with friendly Lucchese, generous offering of great shopping, and unbroken walls on which to bike easily make it my favorite town in Tuscany. The fact that the Degl'Innocenti clan is from that neck of the woods might play a bit on my nostalgia as well.
There were two definite highlights to the day, and unsurprisingly each involves one of my favorite Italian products: leather and gelato.
By a stroke of luck, we landed in Lucca on the day of their monthly antique fair. During our long lunch break, I strolled through the gigantic market that filled several large piazzas, overflowed into smaller ones, and continued still to fill in the cracks of small alleyways. There were loads of beautiful paintings and masterfully crafted furniture, heirloom jewelery and precious silverware, and a whole lot of junk. My point of no return was at a vintage leather booth, where I fell in love with and purchased a tan leather satchel from the 70's. I paid less and the leather is already broken in-what a deal!
Later, while biking the walls, Fabrizio, the history professor, and I came across a man both peddling and pedaling his gelato cart through the groups of jolly weekend customers. We took a break to enjoy our refreshing snack, and when Fabrizio went back for a second cone, an old local nonna plopped down on my bench, gelato in hand. When I asked her what flavors she had selected, she mumbled with a certain careless attitude that her selection had been, "Basta che sia gelato." She couldn't have cared less about the flavor; the fact that it was gelato was enough for her. Not much for conversation, that one, but I understand the need to be left alone with one's gelato.