At the beginning of May, with two writing friends, I spent a week in the ancient walled city of Lucca. We rented a lovely apartment in the heart of the city, which was above a patisserie and the smells as the delicious cakes were prepared were wonderful. As were the cakes!
We all worked hard on our writing and enjoyed several afternoons outside, making the most of the sunshine. We wrote in lots of different places, from the Botanical Gardens, to picnic benches on the Renaissance walls of the city. But the favourite place for me was Palazzo Pfanner and the wonderful gardens full of lemon trees.
It’s also where we spent the afternoon with Sharon Kendrick, who was in Italy teaching at the wonderful Watermill and visited Lucca when the group had their day out.
It was a fun to immerse ourselves in the daily life of the city, everything from shopping for food to enjoying a coffee and watching the world go by. Several times during the week, I walked around the city on the walls, a walk of 4km, but well worth it to see the city. It's also what all the locals do. Each morning they walk, run or even cycle around the walls.
As well as writing, I visited museums, churches and the cathedral. I spent many hours enjoying window shopping on the Via Fillungo and soon found my way around by remembering all the shops where I liked a dress or a pair of shoes. When the bustle of shopping became too much, I enjoyed coffee in the famous oval Piazza Anfiteatro.
From the apartment I could watch the daily life of Lucca going on and soak up the atmosphere. I loved listening to the sounds of the cafes, the flow of Italian and the gorgeous smells from the patisserie below.
Soon, our week came to an end and I was sad to say goodbye to our lovely apartment and it's charming courtyard view, but I returned with lots of words written, fabulous food eaten and lovely places seen.