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Lucca

Lucca is a poem. The old city is surrounded by walls with a wide path that you can walk around and where tourists and locals jog, ride bicycles or just hang out in the shadows at night.

Descending from the city walls into the narrow streets you use up the film in your camera within a few minutes as you stumble across lovely view after lovely view. The air is still and shady, the houses are like paintings and every now and then you break out into a piazza and wonder why you gave up painting lessons at school.

There are churches at every turn but they fail to make much of an impression against the commonplace beauty of Lucca and though the curving streets often lead you in circles, you rarely mind seeing the same idyllic view twice.

It’s quite a sleepy town though and you get the feeling that most people between the ages of 18-25 are at university somewhere else in Italy and that the town gets along almost solely on the backs of tourists. Everywhere are menus in several languages and the shops sell little that any local would have any interest in buying.

There is a new part to Lucca beyond the city walls but you have no reason to go and look for it, even if you do manage to find it beyond the maze of roads bearing traffic to the rest of Tuscany.