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A Spontaneous Pit Stop in Lucca, Italy

Sep 07, 2018 02:05PM
A year ago, my friend Anne and I needed to drive to Milan, Italy, to catch our flights back to the United States after a week in the Apennine Mountains. We had two choices. The shortest was to head directly north to Bologna and then west to Milan, about 160 miles. Or we could drive up the Mediterranean coastline, which would add another 100 miles but would be more scenic. We had the entire day to travel, so we opted for the seashore.

Looking at a map, Pisa caught my eye. It was en route, and I had never seen the famous leaning tower. “It’s a tourist trap,” said Anne, dismissing the suggestion. “It’s tough to park anywhere close to it.”

“How about Genoa?” I suggested, thinking it might be interesting to see the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. “It’s the biggest port city in Italy with over a half-million people,” replied Anne. “It’s too big for just a pit stop. How about Lucca?”

Lucca (pronounced LU-kah) was in the European news as then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had just visited this historic walled city to attend a meeting of the G7 foreign ministers. It was more modest in size that Genoa, about 80,000 people, so likely easier to navigate, and the idea of seeing an intact medieval city was enticing.

By Lisa Ballard

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