It’s hard to believe that we got home from Italy a week ago!
After several days in Cinque Terre, we took the train for a short stay in Tuscany before flying home. We changed trains in La Spezia and Viareggio before arriving on the outside of the walled town of Lucca.
Fun fact: the walls around Lucca are 4km, or approximately 2.5 miles, and are now used as a promenade around the town. Seattlites may compare this to the 2.8 mile path around Green Lake.
Mr F and I loved spending a day and night in Lucca. Our accommodations, at the La Romea Bed and Breakfast, were fun and spacious, and the host, Giulio, was super helpful. We enjoyed his restaurant recommendations immensely and thanks to him, had our some of our best meals in Italy. We had the Blue Room, which had frescos on the ceiling and a huge bathroom overlooking a church. Giulio told us there were 99 churches in Lucca!
Our first order of business in Lucca was to try the local food. Cecina is a garbanzo bean crepe and a Lucchesi specialty, plus the best place to try it (Pizzeria Da Felice) was a few doors down from our room! It was the perfect snack and healthy too!
We spent the afternoon in Lucca wandering inside the city walls, through Napoleon’s sister’s (the Princess of Lucca’s) palace grounds, viewing neat statues, and the town amphitheater. My favorite place was the Basilica of San Frediano, with its beautiful golden mosaic.
Our best meal in Italy was in Lucca, at Ristorante Giglio. (Giglio means lily, which reminded us of our cat!) We had a lovely table in the courtyard and had a phenomenal bottle of Chianti with our first course, of Polpo croccante, melanzane e dragoncello. The plating was striking and the octopus was perfectly cooked! We also found out that eggplant puree and basil pairs excellently with octopus. The restaurant had the best service and when I asked if we could move inside, since I was getting bug bites, they moved our actual table inside, because all the other tables were taken! The frescos and chandeliers inside were amazing, in addition to the mouthwatering primi course of tortelli au ragu (stuffed pasta similar to ravioli) and the spectacular secondi course of Bistecca alla fiorentina. Steak florentine is a wood-fired porterhouse steak that they only serve rare, or mid rare. We typically like cotto or well done, but this was the Italian experience and it was delectable. We also found out that our last name of Fette, means slices in Italian!
To top off a wonderful, last official dinner in Italy, we had the Panna cotta al sesamo, caramello salato, mela verde, avena e lapsang souchong. The sesame flavored panna cotta with caramel, green apple, oats, and tea syrup was easily the best panna cotta I’ve ever had, but also the most complex flavored dessert that I’ve ever appreciated.
It was amazing being in a smaller city where the service and presentation are at a very high level of excellence. All of our dishes were beautiful as well as delicious, very reasonably priced, plus the sommelier was incredibly helpful and helped us find the best wine of our trip! We enjoyed the Chianti with dinner and tried a bottle of Brunello Risvera for the next day! We’d love to return to Tuscany and spend more time in small towns, like Lucca. I highly recommend this town to anyone who’d like to visit Italy.