My Apartment is a Happening Place!

I don’t think I could have been more fortunate in getting a good location when I reserved this apartment in Lucca. It’s not for everyone – there is a LOT of noise all the time. And I was a bit taken aback by it at first. But now I just feel like I live in the middle of a busy, vibrant slice of Italy where there’s a lot going on.

ImageBeing right next to San Paolina Church means that many, many tour groups come by. This past Saturday morning I opened the window to take some photos of the view in the rain and the street was bombarded with tour groups!

ImageAt one time there were three different groups viewing the church. Two from the steps and one from the street. As those filed away, more took their place.

All in all, I counted 7 large tour groups in about 10 minutes time. Saturday must be a big day for Lucca tours. And I’m still glad I’m not in one! I just don’t like being part of a crowd like that.

I went out for a walk a bit later – without my camera – and wouldn’t you know there was a marathon going on! The finish line was just two blocks down the street in front of San Michele Church. It was all set up just like an American marathon. There were food and drink stations and medics on hand at the finish. It was so cold and rainy I didn’t stay to watch, but I got my walk in. Can you believe I am walking even in the rain?

ImageAnd of course my little neighborhood is always hopping due to the cafe right across the street. They have live music about four nights a week and young people literally line the church steps to eat and drink and visit. You often hear a lot of shouting and cheering and singing along. It is a very lively hangout. But so quiet on Sunday morning that you can hear the pigeons cooing…

But today might have taken the cake…

I was sitting in my front room browsing on the computer and I heard a large crowd noise on the street even though it is cold and all the windows and doors were closed. There were periodic cheers and it sounded big, so I went to the window to check it out. All I could see was people staring in the distance and the shopkeepers were hurriedly moving their postcard racks indoors. Something was coming…

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“Crisis in Banks… not in Schools”

I ran to put on some long pants and a coat and grabbed my camera, but before I could get outside the noise was approaching my bedroom window. Back to the window I flew and I was glad I hadn’t made it outside. My view was perfect.

First was a few polizia, casually walking with hands behind back. The demonstration was led by a couple young men waving Italian flags. They were already past my window before I could get their picture. Then came students chanting and carrying banners. It was orderly and lively and full of energy.

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Stop filing… the school is not for police… (this is) artistic mobilization

I leaned out the window and watched in amazement as the crowd just kept coming and coming and coming…

There were so many young people – and I think they were having a very good time but were also passionate. I tried to get photos of the signs so I could translate and see what the commotion was all about.

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Eventually someone looked up and saw me and they started waving.

That drew even more attention so I snapped photos and the kids were shouting “post on facebook!” I grinned and gave them a big thumbs up. Then even more of them noticed me and cheers went up. Like kids everywhere they were thrilled to be noticed and mug for the camera.

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The crowd stretches forward for blocks…

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Polizia bring up the rear

The pics got a bit blurry because the kids were really in motion, but I was glad to see it. Then of course I had to finish getting dressed and run downstairs to ask Annamaria what all the fuss was about. She explained that the public schools in Lucca do not get the same funding as the private schools and as a result they cut various programs, number of teachers, etc. (Sound familiar?)

The government, however, bails out banks and when the schools complain, a police presence is sent in to deter any sort of protest. These kids were from all over Lucca, not just one school, so that took some organizing. And I think they spent a good bit of time going round town. An hour after I saw them I walked to the market and they were in that neighborhood as well. Probably too much fun to stop.

So I guess I’m right in the thick of things here. Lots going on everyday.

Later today I will be packing up as my time on this phase of the trip is up. In the morning I take the train to Roma. I am excited to have an art infusion. I can’t wait to see more of the things I’ve only ever seen in books. I know it will be a tremendous experience for me.

Stay tuned! Italy is a happening place! A presto!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Space Monkey
    Oct 30, 2012 @ 13:11:05

    Oh Starr I can’t read without leaving you a post to let you know I was here!! I know I’m silly. Anyway what old streets, so narrow,which I love. Be very careful in Rome and see everything!

    Reply

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