As you read in my brief sentence of the last blog entry the ride to Lucca was complicated. Obviously none of us have ever driven in Italy so the adjustment to their roads was a hard one. The GPS didn't always give us the most accurate information on where to go but we got to Lucca so there really isn't anything to complain about. We drove through a lot of little towns and saw a lot of country on our ride to Lucca. I was just happy to be getting out of the city for a week. After we got to our hotel we decided to find this bridge that was suggested to my aunt and uncle to visit. The bridge was in Borgo a Mozzano and was called "Devil´s Bridge" or "Magdalene´s Bridge". It was a really pretty drive around the hills and there was a spectacular view of the mountains. We then spent a couple hours in the walls of Lucca and just walked around and stopped and had pizza. It was really good pizza at a little bar. It got dark pretty fast so there wasn't much time to do anything that night so we headed back to the hotel.
We spent our morning in the walls of Lucca. We walked around and stopped into whatever churchs or musuems we walked by. Auntie Margaret and I climbed the Guinigi Tower (the tower with the trees on top) and enjoyed the view of Lucca. We enjoyed some lunch inside the amphitheatre at a little restaurent with tables set up outside. It was beautiful weather. I just enjoyed a cup of coffee and soaked in some sun. After lunch we walked the wall of Lucca then headed to the car for our journey to Viareggio. On our way to Viareggio we decided to look up the Micheletti Volkwagon dealership and see if we were related. We finally found the place and met a woman named Michela Micheletti. She spoke little English but called her mother who spoke good English. Her mother and my aunt talked for a couple minutes. I don't think there was any relation between us but it was fun for all of us. We said goodbye and as we were about to pull out of the parking lot they ran out and told us to come back in. Michela gave us a bunch of free stuff that said Micheletti Volkswagon on it. She was extremely nice and we had a lot of fun trying to understand each others language. Our drive to Viareggio was wonderful. It was frustrating with getting a little lost but we were driving around in the hills again which made the trip so worth it. When we finally got there I was so excited. My first time ever at the Sea!! I believe it was the Ligurian Sea. I put my feet in the water and collected some sea shells. It was great! We then walked on the big dock and enjoyed the sun for a few minutes then headed back to the hotel and called it a night.
Tuesday, March 5:
Tuesday was our long drive to the Micheletti Winery. It was a good day for a drive though since it had decided to rain. We drove down the coast most of the way. It was south of Livorno where the windery was at. When we finally got to the winery we had to wait another hour for the tour so we went out to eat. I can't remember the name of the restaurant but its specialty was fish since we were by the sea. The Micheletti brothers spoke little English so it was a good test for myself to learn more Italian. I was able to understand quite a bit of what they were saying so it was fun to translate for my aunt and uncle the bits and pieces I did know. I bought two bottles of wine and they gave me one as a gift from them. We had a little wine tasting while we were there and the brothers showed us around the winery. They were very nice and I got my picture with them. My first ever alcohol purchase was from this winery! A good memory :)
Wednesday, March 6:
Last full day in Lucca. We were planning on going to Pisa this day but decided to spend the day in Santa Maria Del Giudice, where my great great great grandfather was from. We went to the church where he was a priest at one point. It is the only church there so it wasn't hard to find. Barely anyone spoke English there (which wasn't a surpise to me), so it was hard to find the information we were looking for. It was a really rainy day so we had decided to go find a coffee shop while we waited for someone to get to the church for us to talk to. The coffee shop we stopped in was called Bei & Ninnini's. We had asked the bartender if she knew anyone from the geneology chart that we had with us. Before we knew it we had everyone and their uncle looking for information on Micheletti's. It was funny watching everyone in the bar pass around this peice of paper. We spent a good hour or two there and watched the locals play cards. It kind of reminded me of Bergland, MI or Mason, WI; my two favorite small towns. The bartender found some information out about a Micheletti just out of Lucca so we went to find her, and we did. She said we weren't related though but it was fun to meet another Micheletti. It was a rainy day so we were pretty limited to what we could do. Luckily by around 4pm someone was at the church and had turned on some lights so we could take pictures. The excitement in my Aunt Margaret's face was priceless. I could tell she had waited for that moment for a long time. She also got some contact information that will hopefully will lead to more information on family.
Tursday, March 7: Off to Perugia!