By the time this blog gets posted we will be in Lucca, a relaxed, well-to-do small city in Western Tuscany. We have visited Lucca many times over the years with our Arts Sojourn groups and try and do at least a couple of day trips from our home base.
Lucca is surrounded by massive defensive walls that are now one if its best features. The Lucchese and visitors walk, jog and bike around the city in a day-long passeggiata of people-watching. We enjoy getting away from the more cosmopolitan atmosphere of the town for a day in the country. One of the many small towns we have enjoyed visiting in past years is Bagni di Lucca in the Serchio Valley. It’s only about an hour by public bus from Lucca, but mercurial bus schedules that are tied to school sessions and commuting to and from work don’t always allow for a convenient visit.
The Lima, a tributary of the Serchio, cuts right through Bagni di Lucca. We have enjoyed drawing and painting along its banks.
While researching for our visit this year I was saddened to hear of the closing of a Bagni di Lucca restaurant that we enjoyed in the past. Circolo di Forestieri was an institution in town. Its terrace over the river provided us with a reasonably-priced place for a relaxing lunch.
Matthew Daub is a professional artist and university professor with works in major public and private collections throughout the United States and Europe. He has been leading plein air painting workshops in Italy since 1994. In 1999, Matthew and his wife Barbara formed Arts Sojourn as “a vacation for artists and their friends.” The program is designed to appeal to artists of all levels as well as non-artists who enjoy the company of creative people in a slow travel format.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.