Last Friday we went to Lucca and Pisa on a day trip with our program. First stop was Lucca, an ancient walled city. The Renaissance walls still surround the small city and serve as a park. We began our tour on top of them, which was a really great way to see the city. From the walls you can see some of the 80+ churches, palaces and other buildings. At one part of the wall you can see where they are restoring some of the thin medieval walls that were once the city’s only defense. After the invention of cannons, the thick walls were necessary, as well as moats and hills that could delay the enemy troops.

After walking on the walls for a few minutes we went into Church San Frediano, which was a light and spacious church with the remains of Saint Zita. She was completely visible and has hardly decayed in the hundreds of years since her death-which is either because of her holiness or lead in the water or something like that. Think what you wish. It was kinda creepy but cool at the same time. Then we walked to the old Roman amphitheater, which is now a round piazza surrounded by apartments and stores. The main street is just outside of the amphitheater and contains tons and tons of shops-nothing too exciting, lots of shoes though! YAY! My favorite was Il Panda. Anyway, there is one store that is the oldest store in Lucca. I forget how long it’s been open but the facade is the same from a hundred or so years. There is also a historical cafe with really delicious tiramisu. Then on to the duomo, which had a really interesting facade. It was the striped marble seen all over Tuscany but the columns on the top reflected the different tapestry and silk patterns sold by the local merchants. The patterns were really cool and ranged from diamonds to swirls. One column at another church featured a knot-it was really interesting. After our tour, my friends and I walked around Lucca and discovered adorable small streets and they biked on the walls. I did not because I was beyond exhausted so I sat and reflected on life, it was really nice.

Then on to Pisa! I only spent a few minutes there, as we had to catch a train to Cinque Terre. We got to the tower and took many of the necessary tourist shots, holding the tower up, leaning with it, and more. The tower is much cooler in person. I think that it is more obvious how much it is actually leaning/sinking. There are really ridiculous souvenirs showing the tower as a banana and other things as well. I want to go back one day and climb to the top, oh well. Pisa was a total whirlwind but fun nonetheless. My friends and I enjoyed being super touristy and didn’t feel out of place because everyone around us was doing the exact same thing-which actually makes it really hard to take a good picture!