Currently, I am studying abroad at LdM, Marist’s branch campus in Florence, Italy. The nice thing about traveling from Florence is that it is centrally located – so if I want, I can hop on a train and see some other Tuscan towns!
A day trip to Pisa and Lucca was a nice getaway from Florence. This was my second time in Pisa, (my first was in high school) but it was nice to see a new part of the town by walking up from the train station.
I saw graffiti by Keith Haring, crossed the Arno, and window shopped along the main shopping street. The walls of Pisa were also not far from the Leaning Tower.
Seeing the “Field of Miracles” for the second time was still breathtakingly beautiful.
The Tower is still leaning — hopefully only the same amount since I saw it last! The sunny day made it perfect for the ideal tourist photo of holding up the Tower.
The train from Pisa to Lucca was a quick one, and seeing the Ancient Roman walls still surrounding the town was unique, since most Roman towns in Italy have destroyed most of the walls to make way for modern traffic.
Inside the walls, Lucca was a quiet, charming town. A nice change of pace from bustling touristy Florence. Walking through the streets was relaxing, and it was east to make new discoveries at each turn.
Romanesque churches are everywhere – almost one on every corner. The circular Piazza Anfiteatro was a hidden gem, and different from the usual square city centers. The Guingi Tower was also stumbled upon.
The timing of this trip could have been better, since the town was in Siesta for a few hours, leaving my friends and I with a big appetite. We found a restaurant that would let
us in and feed us — and we had a feast! Antipasto Fruta del Mare (calamari, mussels, clams), bread, Primi of eggplant pasta, Secondi of Bistecca (a specialty of Lucca), and eventually with rests between courses… dessert of Tiramissu. Satisfied, we made our way out of the walls to the train back to Firenze.
Lucca was a peaceful adventure — my advice is to go off the beaten path; you never know what you may find.
I am so appreciative of Marist that we have such amazing study abroad programs. Not only do I get to attend classes in such a beautiful, historic city, in my free time I can travel to new places and see even more of Europe.
—Gina Rose Sirico
Follow me @GinaRoseSirico