Another Saturday in Lucca

This is MB’s 2nd Saturday in Lucca and my 3rd, so we’re feeling pretty at home these days. MB will be leaving soon but I have another week or so here and have to make other plans. This morning we got up and putzed around just like we were at home. MB did laundry and I made coffee and cursed at the computer.


My favorite butcher shop

But I had been up early and made a plan. I figured it was a good day to get painting so we should take a picnic up on the ramparts and I could paint and MB could do whatever she liked. I was out at the markets just after 8 and picked up some parma ham, fresh bread, cheese and fruit. I really wanted some sort of quiche or frittata but didn’t find it. All the Italians like to eat for breakfast is sweets!

The parma ham came from my favorite butcher shop down the street. This older couple work there day and night – speak only Italian – and take very good care of me. What a delight to shop where you know the owners…

MB was all for the plan and helped pack up the painting gear.  By the time we got ready to go we wanted something hot to eat, so we stopped at a shop nearby that advertises the “best pizza in Lucca.” The owner, Michele, was very taken with us and offered to make us anything we wanted to “take away”. MB ordered a mushroom pizza.

Michele wanted to know all about us so I got out the sketchbook and we had a lively discussion about staying in Italy to paint. He told us to stop in the store for anything we need – restroom, directions, help of any kind. And I do think I’ll go back to try his lasagne. I saw it in a pan there and it looked awfully good!

ImageSo up on the ramparts we went and got all set up. I found a spot where I could sit and paint – which may not be the most productive position, but certainly the most comfortable. MB brought her journal and ended up staying with me the whole time. I thought she would take off to roam or walk or shop but she didn’t. I think this reflective Italian lifestyle is agreeing with us both!

ImageIt didn’t take me long to get something down on the canvas. Here’s a quick peek at an early stage…

All was well for a couple hours. We worked on our projects and countless people slowed down to take a look. The farther I got along on the painting, the more people tended to stop. But then, just as I was going to wrap up because the light had changed so much, a man pushing a toddler boy in a stroller pulled up. I greeted him with a smile and thought he would make a comment or two and move on.


Geez o’ Pete, this was a new experience. He wanted to give me advice about the painting but he didn’t speak any English. At first I tried to communicate with him and I quickly knew what he was saying. He wanted me to put the background buildings farther in the background (lantano! he was shouting) and put more strength in the foreground (forte! forte!) And I fully intended to do that, but I wasn’t quite that far along.

So I thanked him and tried to turn away – and he wouldn’t leave. More italian. More gesturing. He completely ignored the baby in the buggy. MB started groaning under her breath.

Still I was patient, but then he picked up one of my brushes and started to make marks on the canvas. I totally understood what he was saying, but he completely ignored my pleas of “non finito!” Both MB and I were beginning to come unglued.

Grazie! A presto! I implored. (Thank you! See you soon!) No good. He’s still gesturing and shouting. The toddler isn’t making a peep and I’m wishing he’ll start throwing some sort of fit. No such luck.

Finally, after a good half hour or more, the guy went back to his grandson and began walking away. MB and I could not pack up fast enough!

Lord sakes, I’ve never had that happen before and it was almost enough to keep me off the Lucca wall for some time. I sure hope we don’t run into him again soon. I much prefer the pizza guy who was sweet on us and gave us extra mushrooms on our pizza.

After a bit of a break back at the apartment we were quite anxious to get out and going again. It is VERY lively around here on Saturday night and it just seemed like excitement was in the air. We didn’t have any special plans, but we took off to see what was going on around town.

ImageWe came upon a beautiful music store with a row of guitars hung on the wall and a couple gorgeous violins in the window. Eye candy for sure. Seeing the guitars made both of us think of our boys back home so we enjoyed looking at them for a bit.

ImageThen we heard shouting in the street and the store owner rushed outside. But only because the shouting was a rowdy group across the street watching soccer on a big screen in a storefront and they were cheering on the game. The store owner wanted to know the score…

We walked over and joined the crowd for a few minutes just because it was so lively. Yes, they were cheering their game, but some of the guys would just break out in song occasionally – which seems to happen a lot here – and it is just downright fun to watch.

ImageThen it was off to find some supper and walk back home for the night. However, being Saturday night, it is party time at our location. The cafe across from the church steps is a hopping place on weekend nights. So we took our time approaching the apartment to see what was going on. Some local was singing terribly off-key, but thankfully that stopped right away and the hired duo took over. There was quite a crowd and I made eye contact with this guy who was cuddling on his dog. The dog is pretty cute, too, huh!

Italians LOVE their pets and take them everywhere. You see them in shops and restaurants and all over the streets. As long as the animals are well-behaved, no one seems to mind a bit.

ImageFinally, MB looked up at the apartment from the street and noticed the open kitchen window. “I think I’d like to have my picture from up there,” she commented. “Well go on up and I’ll take it,” I replied.

So here is MB looking out on the Saturday night festivities from our Lucca apartment in October 2012.

Things won’t quiet down around here for a while, but we have gotten used to that. It’s such a joy to be in Italy and right in the midst of the life of the city. We are treasuring every moment – which I think you can see right here on MB’s face.

But it is getting late and MB only has one day left here to play. Time for bed and sweet dreams.

Buona notte!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Paula
    Oct 20, 2012 @ 22:32:36

    Oh yes, the dog is very cute!! MB looks mooney just like a good Italiana!


  2. Billy D
    Oct 21, 2012 @ 06:49:08

    That man must have been passionate about his art – good thing you weren’t painting a picture of his mother, Mama Mia!!


  3. Ellyn
    Oct 21, 2012 @ 16:35:22

    That was waay too funny about the man with the stroller. He’s accustomed to being surrounded by great art so of course he has an opinion!

    That guy with the dog looks a great deal like Cousin Beau, don’t ya think? And I love the pic of Marybeth from the window. She looks perfectly content. Like she’s not thinking about what Kyle might be doing at that same moment… ha ha. 😀


  4. Janet Collins
    May 26, 2017 @ 15:24:04

    Yes I’m sure it was just the dog that you thought was cute lol


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