We set off from Celle Ligure hoping for a relaxing, picturesque run along the coast road to our next destination near Marina di Massa. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be; the road was far from picturesque or relaxing, so after suffering the clogged outskirts of Genoa, we decided to jump onto the toll road, which turned out to be surprisingly affordable (14.30Euros to go 73 miles). We looked forward to arriving in Marina di Massa, but were unfortunately rather disappointed on arrival.
The campsite, Camping Giardino, was not what we had been expecting and trying to find a supermarket was very frustrating involving cycling along a busy, uninspiring road to find a Carrefour Express with very poor produce ☹
However, the next morning brought a renewed sense of optimism as I ventured out for a short run along the coast. I ran the other way to where we’d cycled the previous day, which offered some slightly more promising scenery. We were in need of a rest though and chose to chill out by the van and around the pool for the day. We forgot to take our swimming hats though and chose not to use those that were offered to us (they’d clearly never been washed…)
We had some British neighbours for the first time and they told us about the region’s abundant marble quarries of Carrara. We had seen much evidence of this on our drive, seeing huge marble slabs waiting to be transported. Our neighbours had a motorbike with them and went up to undertake the quarry jeep tour, which they said was amazing.
After a restful 2 nights we moved on, passing through the much nicer area of Marina di Massa just a mile or so up the road…
Our next stop was the enchanting city of Lucca, a place that quickly won our hearts. We stayed at the dedicated motorhome parking area of Parking Luporini, which was absolutely perfect 😊
We had a quick wander down to the town in the evening but saved our main exploration for the following day when we were greeted by a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. Having to negotiate the city’s streets, competing with an eclectic mix of bikes, mopeds, delivery vans and even rubbish trucks was most certainly an experience! Even the supposedly pedestrianized areas were not immune to the bustling energy of daily life.
While in Lucca, I took the opportunity to collect a unique souvenir—a fridge magnet crafted by the talented artist Maria Guida. It serves as a charming memento, capturing a piece of Lucca’s spirit that I will keep with me.
Sadly, our visit to the iconic Torre de Guinigi was thwarted by its closure for maintenance. Nevertheless, we found solace in the city’s beautiful cathedral, its architectural splendour a testament to Lucca’s rich history.
For lunch, we discovered Undici Undici, a quaint restaurant with a mesmerizing view of the cathedral. The ambience was enhanced by the warm hospitality of a lovely waitress, who added a personal touch to our dining experience.
Later in the evening, as the sun set, we embarked on a bike ride atop the city walls, immersing ourselves in the vibrant tapestry of Lucca’s evening activities. The walls were alive with walkers, scooter riders, and an abundance of runners, all enjoying the shared space and the city’s unmistakable charm. From here we were able to appreciate all the sights of Lucca from a different perspective.
I wanted to start the day with a run along the city walls, but found myself succumbing to exhaustion from all the walking the day before!
From Lucca, we had just a short journey onto Pisa, where we finally fulfilled our long-held dream of seeing the leaning tower. The tower did not disappoint, and we realized that pictures alone cannot do justice to its unique lean.
The cathedral and baptistery in the Piazza dei Miracoli were equally impressive. We learned that the leaning tower started leaning during its construction but has been stabilized to prolong its lifespan – it’s thought by a further 300 years.
After enjoying a drink just outside the city walls, we walked along the city walls before finding our way back to the motorhome parking area, Camperisti Pisani, which had the added bonus of an old, abandoned running track nearby – so at least I managed to get a run in this time 😊
Our next destinations were Florence and Siena, and I will include details of both in my next post 😊
Note: for more photos see my instagram & facebook posts 🙂