I hustled away from Camaiore with frequent glances skyward at the dark and threatening skies. The first shower had me duck into a five star trailside shelter: an old house listed for sale had a magnificent pilgrim refuge – a covered patio complete with cast iron table and chairs. I put my feet up and watched the deluge for twenty minutes. When it eased. I power walked up the steep hill and was greeted by a cafe. Another twenty minutes rain watching, this time accompanied by a cappuccino. My third lucky break was much later in the valley leading away from the rain soaked hills, when a semi derelict garage provided a brief shelter from a short shower.
Much of the scenery was obscured by the low hanging rain clouds, but there were glimpses of the inevitable hilltop villages before getting to the flat lands on the approach to Lucca.
Lucca itself has a long and storied history – an Etruscan settlement before being developed into a major border stronghold in the early years of the Roman empire, and subsequently expanded and enlarged over the centuries since. The city’s broad fortifications still encircle the city and are a well maintained walking/running/cycling pathway and park. The interior is well populated with magnificent buildings, mazes of narrow alleys, and squares loaded with cafes and restaurants. Lucca is also the first city on the VF in Italy with star tourism pulling power, and is on the Cinque Terre, Pisa, Firenze, Siena, Roma tourist circuit. At times there seemed to be more people speaking languages other than Italian, and there were numerous passers-by wearing the t-shirt purchased at the last stop on the circuit. While it was a wonderful city in which to spend a “rest day” (my first since Besançon on day thirty-three) I’m looking forward to getting back to walking in the countryside -especially now that Susan has joined me (putting the two back into 2saunter!)