Lucca is a beautiful,old walled city where we spent several days wandering the narrow cobbled streets. Seeing the sites within and nearby. One of which was the lovely old walled city of Sienna. It has the bizarre tradition called the "Palio". A one minute bare back horse race, three times round the immense city piazza. It occurs twice very year in July and August. The city is divided into nine districts that bear names like: porcupine, tortoise, eagle, caterpillar, elephant, unicorn, dragon, bear, xxxx & xxx. Each Sunday throughout the year a district has a turn to parade it's colours. On the Sunday we visited, it was the Elephant district's turn. Thirty men, in medieval attire. Thick tights, velvet jackets & hats, carried drums or flags through the narrow, hilly streets, making noise, for FOUR hours. It was 35* that day! Each district becomes very passionate to raise the money to pay for the horse and rider. After the July race this year, the jockey who came in second by a short length, spent three weeks in hospital. His district team members were unhappy that he didn't win and beat him up!!! All of this for no remuneration, just the glory of a palio (banner). As I said it's bizarre.
Robert standing outside the chandelier restaurant, Emma. For those who are confused. We were enjoying a quiet delicious Italian vino in the afternoon at this restaurant, when I looked up to look at the decor to find a chandelier hung with white tea cups and saucers enlarged with bright plastic teaspoons. Exclaiming, I jumped up to photograph it for Emma who is always looking for new things to make (hope she doesn't take this one on board!)
One of the many churches that abound in Italy. This one in Lucca had such a narrow high facade it looked like it would blow over in a strong wind. I suppose that's not going to happen given that it's been up for over a couple of hundred year. It always amazes me that they could build such incredibly large structures so long ago without the technical aids we need today to erect something.
Bees are large here! I won't let ours at home know. They're actually bumblebees and not use for honey making. We found them enjoying the pollen and sunshine in the gardens in Lucca.
The main city hall in the piazza of Sienna.
Robert is contemplating how long it would have taken to lay all these bricks!!
Here come the Elephant troupe. Remember it's 35*. We were expiring whilst imbibing a cool beverage. These guys still had two hours to go!!
Some of the younger boys, looking happy with their lot.
I'm sure this drummer was ready to peel off and share our drink.
It was very hard to get the size of Sienna's piazza in a photo. It was vast and surrounded by grand buildings all build hundreds of years ago. Beautiful but hot. Imagine waiting in the searing heat from one o'clock 'til 7.00pm when the race starts. If you want a good view of it, you have together there that early.
That brings the Lucca / Sienna chapter to a close. Next stop, Firenze.