Those of you familiar with the world of Facebook will understand the reference to the trip down memory lane that causes many users to post their baby pictures once a week. My TBT was, I hope, a more universal experience.
Last night we went to hear Graham Nash perform here in Lucca. Never thought I’d put those two things together, but seeing him in the opera house here made his performance even more personal and touching.
He opened with “Bus Stop,” made famous by The Hollies (which he co-founded), and closed (before the encore) with “Our House,” one of my all-time favorite songs. Managed to capture it on slightly shaky video, for those who are interested in what he sounds like today. The camera shook because my heart was pounding and the theatre was rocking:
All in all, it was a great evening. No pyrotechnics – just wonderful mellow thoughtful songs. His encore was The Beatles “Blackbird” and his own “Teach Your Children.” Sigh. A great throwback to ancient times.
Today we started getting serious about seeing the wonderful Tuscan town of Lucca, rain or no rain. (And yes, there was some rain.) Through the arch just beyond our apartment is a small canal, which must have ancient roots, but today is nice and tidy, filled with fish.
We followed the crowd to the Piazza dell’Anfiteatro. This was once the site of the Roman amphitheater, eventually cannabalized for its stones. The shape remains, along with some of the remains of the original walls.
The nearby church of San Frediano was built by the Pope in 1112 as a reminder of papal power. The Baptistery is 12th-century, the body of Saint Zita has been lying there since 1278, and the interior is basically as the early pilgrims on the route from Northern Europe saw it.
Lucca’s main shopping streets are graced with many century-old storefronts. The shops below them may bear no relation to the original signage, but how nice of the current vendors to leave the history intact.
Don’s Food Corner
We made an effort today to find a restaurant of interest. And we were successful.
We started with a small wheel of grilled Tomino cheese (made from goat milk) and ribbons of a carpaccio of pears, all drizzled with honey and sprinkled with walnuts. A beautiful presentation. And the cheese had some real heft to it, not like the French-style chèvre that we are used to. It’s another thing we’ll have to put on our shopping list when we get back to New York.
Then, seeing risotto on the menu, Jo went for that. Today’s special was risotto with cheese and asparagus. The rice was perfectly cooked and the dish was nicely creamy — although it needed a little salt.
I zeroed in on what is considered a local specialty — rovellino. Our Italian food guide describes the dish as “a thin cut of beef that’s deep-fried, then pan-fried again later to heat it up.” When it arrived it looked suspiciously like veal Milanese with an addition of diced tomatoes and capers on top. Although the meat was clearly beef and not veal, this turned out to be almost the scallopine Milanese that Jo has been hoping to be served for the last two months. We swapped dishes, and everyone was happy.
The not-too-dry white wine we had with the meal was from the nearby wine producing town of Montecarlo.