Rain, tiramisu and rugby

It rained and stormed overnight and stories of flooding and evacuations were the main item on breakfast news. Tuscany and Liguria were hit badly and two hundred people were evacuated from towns not far from here. Inside my building, there were puddles on the stairs because the top of the building is open to the sky.

It’s my first Sunday in Lucca. I wasn’t sure what to expect so I was delighted that the bar at the corner of my street was open and with a fresh supply of breakfast pastries. I was feeling quite pleased with myself after asking for coffee and a pastry and having a brief conversation about the weather only to be brought back down to earth by giving the wrong money for the bill. Come stupida!

Rainy days are great for exploring and today I found a real treat.  In the shell of an old stone building, tucked down a street that I hadn’t noticed before, a most unlikely exhibition. On the first floor,  huge photographs of Lucca as it was and as it is today accompanied by beautifully shot videos revealing the metamorphosis in real time. On the second floor elegant black and white photographs from the 1920s to 1950s strung from industrial scaffolding in rooms with polished floors and dusty windows, and on the third floor the original drawings in pencil and ink by famous comic artists, none of whom I recognised but all quite stunning. Everything beautifully displayed in rooms with faded frescoes and cracked plaster, and all totally empty apart from me.

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Since being in Lucca I’ve taken to having lunch. I mean a proper, sit down, at least 2 course affair with wine of course! Today I found La Trattoria da Gigi.  Everything homemade and everything delicious, especially the tiramisù.  (As an aside, did you know that tiramisu literally translates as pick me up? Very effective it is too.) The problem with a midday meal is staying awake afterwards so I set off on a walk around the Wall. Because it was a rainy day I was wearing my waterproof AB jacket. Now it’s fair to say that it is not cool to wear branded clothing in Lucca (unless you’re a teenage soccer fan) so it was a surprise to see the familiar black jersey with the silver fern walking towards me. A charming man who was at great pains to tell me that he was the only AB supporter in Lucca. In a country that is so soccer mad, that’s quite an admission. I didn’t manage to find out why but we high fived and I finished my walk, in the rain again, with a warm, proud to be Kiwi, glow.

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