Day 29 – Lucca to Roma
- Barb: Carless
- Mike: Homestretch
- Jen: Pecora
- Barb: Lucca details
- Mike: Clockwork connections
- Jen: Last stop
Three or Four Words
- Barb: Rainy road trip
- Mike: Hundred-mile car wash
- Jen: Aperto per cena lunedi?
- Barb: Ah, another surprisingly smooth transition.
- Mike: Italian drivers are awful: This comment could have been used on any and every day of our trip.
- Jen: We’ve seen lots of sheep and oodles of pecorino cheese but no wool or woolen goods.
We took one last lap around Lucca this morning, noting and photographing some of the details we’ve picked out during the past week.
We never did visit Palazzo Pfanner, though we walked past it every day to and from the car. This impressive 17th-century house with its 18th-century garden contains a collection of court garments from the 18th and 19th centuries, many made from silk, which I understand was the source of much of medieval Lucca’s wealth.
Then there’s San Martino with its squashed facade. The church was built after the campanile on the right, and rather than design or re-design the church to fit in the available space, the right side was just smooshed in, making the facade asymmetrical. I think that was a bizarre choice, perhaps even lame.
And then there was this cool lion statue. I love the tongue and curly mane. I imagine the lion saying “I look…I look…stupid” in reference to that perfectly curled mane. That’s from an exchange between Lumiere and Beast when the hat rack is doing Beast’s hair for dinner with Belle.
Some lampposts here in Lucca have a trio of lion feet for the base. Lampposts along the Arno in Florence also had lion feet.
And then it was time to pack up and head to Rome for three nights. This Rome extension over Easter weekend is a bonus. We had planned to fly home just before Easter, perhaps out of Florence rather than Rome, to avoid what we assumed would be a super-busy and crowded time in Rome. That was even before the old pope resigned and a new one was installed. However, flight prices were so much cheaper after Easter that we tacked on an extra three days.
We contemplated staying elsewhere in the country during this time but decided instead to throw ourselves into the fray rather than attempt to avoid it. Sometimes it’s fun to do the opposite of what you’d most like to do. And when in Rome….
So off we went through the hardest and most continuous rain we’ve had all month. It was good: We turned in a cleaner car than we expected.
Returning the car to the airport was surprisingly easy. (No way are we driving in Rome—are you completely nuts?!) From there we found the train station and fumbled our way through purchasing tickets to Trastevere, which is ridiculously hard for me to pronounce—tras-TE-ver-eh. I think that’s it. I want to say tras-te-VER-eh.
The hardest part was validating our tickets. We got little stubs of paper instead of the larger airline-boarding-pass-size tickets we got in Chiusi. The validation machines don’t seem to readily recognize the stubs. I tried and tried, but the machine wouldn’t punch my stub. I tried to see if the machine could read the bar code somehow. Other travelers were similarly clueless and hoped I’d figure it out. In the end, Mike had the touch. He was the only one to be able to get the machine to see the stubs and punch them.
Whatever. It’s Italy. We know better than to expect procedures will be clear and efficient.
When we got on the train to Trastevere, Mike called the home owner, and he met us at the other end with a car to transport us and our luggage to our apartment. Easy peasy!
Trastevere is said to have retained its original character (whatever that may have been), with its narrow cobbled streets and medieval houses. Residents and visitors alike flock to the area at night for the restaurants and pubs. And there are a number of foreign educational institutions in the area. Our apartment is fine but rather bare bones. My favorite parts are the marble floor in the entrance and the wide, curving marble stairs to the first floor.
The other side of the street.
Guess what the first order of business was.
Seriously, you don’t know? I’ll give you a hint: Tomorrow is Easter. We expect lots of things to be closed, and we’ve learned that many things are also closed on Easter Monday.
So the first order of business was food! The homeowner recommended a restaurant that he and his friends frequent, but I called and asked “Aperto per cena lunedi?” (Are you open for dinner on Monday?), and the answer was no. We’re hoping to get lunch there sometime, but I’m not counting on it. Our dining-out track record is dreadful. I can’t imagine it will be convenient when the time comes.
We found a grocery store on the opposite side of our block and a produce shop around the corner. Now, even if we find nothing open from now until we leave on Tuesday, we won’t starve. That’s a good feeling. Bring it on, Rome!
OK, I’ve got to ask…how long were you chomping at the bit to say, “And when in Rome..”?
Surprisingly enough, not long or much at all. I suppose we said it a few times while we were there–we had to have–but not as much as you and I would expect. Poor, neglected, under-appreciated phrase.
To be honest, “Italian drivers suck” and other phrases of exasperation were more often used. I don’t think we wanted to “do as the Romans do” very often. Where I use it here, we’re doing the opposite of what we’d most like to do.
I hate to be so negative, but so it is. I loved visiting Rome, but I don’t love Rome, especially modern Rome. On the other hand, I found thinking about why the answer is what it is fun and interesting, so thanks for asking!
Your use of the phrase had me thinking about the time we spent with a Greek family at a social gathering. They were all fluent in English and all of the conversations were in English, but at one point they became passionate and animated regarding some topic that I can’t remember right now. Naturally, they began talking in their native tongue, in a fast-paced and excited manner. One of the kids asked me what they were saying. Of course, I answered, “It’s all Greek to me.” I just had to.
Regarding your enjoyment visiting Rome, but not loving modern Rome–I wonder if it’s anything like how I felt about visiting London. Visiting for just a few days was plenty for me–I don’t like cities in general. We spent time in London, Windsor, and Salisbury. Windsor and Salisbury captured my heart so much more than London. I cherished those places, while I merely tolerated London (which didn’t lesson my enjoyment of the sites we explored there).
Of course you had to! I think my feelings about Rome are probably a lot like your feelings about London. I, too, don’t like cities in general.