Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mediterranean Cruise - Day 4 Morning - Lucca

On day 4 we docked in La Spezia in northwest Italy. It is the jumping off point for visits to Tuscany. We chose a day trip to Lucca and Pisa.

The bus ride was interesting in itself. We passed by a number of these incredibly picturesque hilltop villages.

Lucca dates back to Roman times but is most famous for its intact Renaissance era wall.

This is San Michele in Foro in one of the main squares of the city. The church dates to 795 AD and was built on the site of the Roman forum. This facade was added in the 13th century.

This is a close up of St. Michael the Archangel on the top of the church.

There are a lot of churches in Lucca - about 100. I believe our guide said that the large number of churches for the size of the city was because it was on the pilgrimage route from France to Rome.

This is the interior of the church above.

Click to enlarge.

This style of double door is common in Lucca.

This sculpture is on the facade of the Cathedral of St. Martin. The Cathedral of St. Martin is one of the most important churches in Lucca.

This statue depicts St. Martin cutting his cloak in half to share with the poor man. It is probably the first in-the-round statue in the history of Italian art. This one, covered in moss, is actually a replica. The original is inside the cathedral.

This is the inside of the cathedral.  It is really beautiful. The cathedral dates back to 1070. The interior was rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries.

This representation of the Last Supper is by Tintoretto and was painted in about 1592.

I'd never heard of him, either.

This is the Volto Santo ("Holy Face") of Lucca. It is inside the Cathedral of St. Martin.

For my Catholic friends this has an interesting story. The story goes that the wooden statue miraculously arrived in Lucca in 782. It was allegedly carved by Nicodemus, the biblical figure who helped Joseph of Arimathea remove Christ's body from the cross in John 19.

This a 13th century copy of the statue which was necessary because relic seeking pilgrims chipped away at the original until it was no more.

Get the details here - Holy Face of Lucca

There are scenes like this all over Lucca.

A small narrow street again.

This kid might have been on the tourist board payroll. Too cute.

This is the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro. Its oval shape reflects the fact that it was built on the site of the 2nd century Roman amphitheater.

The city walls around Lucca are completely intact. The modern city has grown around the ancient city with out overwhelming it.

This is one of the gates through the city wall.

You can learn more about Lucca here - Lucca

I felt like we could spend several days there exploring around the city. I would highly recommend it if you have a chance to visit Italy.

I just thought the light was nice in the trees.

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