Painting Lucca’s “Big Ditch”

Lucca's "ditch" - outside the walls

Lucca’s “ditch” – outside the walls

Anyone who has ever visited Lucca knows the town’s main feature is the great wall that surrounds it. Fewer visitors pay much attention to the big ditch – Il Fosso. It begins outside the wall and I imagine served defensive purposes as some sort of a moat, but was primarily used to provide water in the dying of textiles. On the east side of town it runs down its own little canal in the middle of the Via del Fosso –Ditch Street. I’ve painted in Lucca for many years and love returning to the same subjects again and again.

An earlier painting at the lower end of the Via del Fosso

An earlier painting at the lower end of the Via del Fosso from 2009

A 2015 watercolor of the same site

A 2015 watercolor of the same site – It’s interesting to return to a site after time has passed, to see changes that have taken place or simply a different condition of light

I never look for the picturesque, but rather the more common sites tourists tend to overlook.

The "top" of the ditch, where it enters the city after passing through the wall

The “top” of the ditch, where it enters the city after passing through the wall

The Via del Fosso - a little ways down from the top. From here it's a straight shot to the south end of town where it exits the wall again

The Via del Fosso – a little ways down from the top. From here it’s a straight shot to the south end of town where it exits the wall again

At the south end very near the botanical gardens the ditch makes a shape bend. I painted this from atop the city wall.

At the south end very near the botanical gardens the ditch makes a shape bend. I painted this from atop the city wall.

I look forward to our next visit to Lucca. I’ve made dozens of watercolors throughout the town, but I’m sure I’ll return to “The Ditch” again.

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.

 

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