We arrive in Lucca and find a taxi outside the train station. We give him the address, Via dell’Angelo Custode, 2. It is only about a kilometre away. The driver comes within a hair of running over a bicyclist. That near accident put us off of renting bicycles while we’re in Lucca. Besides, when walking, we can see so much more.
We’re not sure which apartment, so I ring the one with no name beside it. We are met by the owner, Duccio Ricci, as well as Arlene and Russ Valentine, who own the company we rented from. They are all more than helpful. They warn us a lot of things will be closed Sunday and Monday for Easter so Arlene takes me to get some groceries and Russ takes Scott for wine. Duccio has left us a basket of food, wine and small book of photos of Lucca.
While we shop, Sara and Eva from Toscaneggiando arrive to cook our dinner.
For dinner, we have Cozze alla viareggina, stuffed mussels; Tagliatelle al funghi, pasta with mushroom sauce; Coniglio all cacciatora, rabbit in a tomato sauce; Verdura di stagione, seasonal vegetables and Crespelle di castagne con ricotte e cioccolata, crepes made with chestnut flour filled with ricotta and topped with chocolate.
They have also brought us bottles of white and red wine. The food is fantastic.
Because they thought Robin and Katie were going to be with us, they have cooked for four. We now have dinner for Monday night, when not much will be open. As they cook and feed us, we get a lot of information about Lucca and the area. Sara tells us that it is traditional for the Lucchese to go to Cinque Terre on Easter Monday, so if we want to go, we’d be better off going Easter Sunday. They also warn us not to walk the walls at night.
After they leave, Scott tries out the satellite tv with the 400+ channels. The place has a washing machine, which we make good use of as well. Like much of the UK, no dryer. We use the drying rack, which Arlene has warned will take about a day to dry, so if we want something sooner, there’s a lavanderia across the road.
Arlene and Russ’s business is called Casa Valentine. Their website is Luxury Italian Villa Rentals in Lucca. They work out of Florence and Portland, Maine specializing in the Lucca area but also some villas in Chianti. We originally were going to rent a villa but Arlene called me and suggested we would have too much room for what was then to be four of us. She suggested this apartment which was still too much room as it ended up being just the two of us staying here.
The place was great as you can see from the photos (taken Monday, April 9) and quite inexpensive accommodation for the amount of space.
Three bedrooms each with its own bathroom.
Two of the bathrooms are larger than anything we have in Calgary. There was also a laundry room which saw a lot of use.