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Trip Report Trip report: Lucca, Siena, Montalcino, Orvieto, Rome

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This will be a long trip report. I will add on as replys to this message. It will take a few days since I type slowly.

Trip report Lucca, Siena, Montalcino, Orvieto and Rome.

18 March 2004 to 9 April 2004, timing dictated by school scheduled spring break.
This trip wasn't so much planned, it evolved. The idea was to show my grandson the wonders of Italy. I have taken all my children to Italy and now I am starting on the grandchildren. Participants: wife (Pat), sister-in-law (Barbara), ten-year-old grandson (Ethan), and me (Henry). Itinerary: Fly in and out of Rome, three days in Lucca, two days in Siena, a week in Montalcino, two days in Orvieto, and a week in Rome (Barbara would leave after two days in Rome). Accommodations averaged about 100 euro a night (21 nights, mostly apartments) for the four of us. Meals averaged about 140 euro a day for four.

We flew from Chicago to Rome. Scheduled arrival was 7:55 and we arrived about ten minutes early. We went through passport control, baggage and customs in about a half-hour. Walked across the street and up the stairs to the train station hit the Bankomat (ATM) and bought the train tickets to Termini and Lucca. Arrived in Termini station by about 9:10 and waited for our train to Florence and change to Lucca. I took this opportunity to buy chocolates from a shop by the tracks. I purchased a variety of small pieces so my grandson could taste the differences of European chocolates. They were a big hit with him; so far Italy was great. Changed trains in Florence and grabbed some juice and sandwiches and chips for the train, not a great lunch but this was a travel day.

Arrived in Lucca and was met by Violetta, the owner of La Scaletta (http://www.knowital.com/properties/lucca/html5/scaletta1.html). Violetta was a bubbly, sweet lady that picked us up at the train station and when we left she also drove us to the station. She had stocked the apartment with fruit, juice, cereal, eggs, bread, and pasta and left a welcoming bottle of wine for us. The apartment was great, no living room, but clean and bright. It looked like the pictures on the website. The area was residential. A small balcony off the main bedroom looked onto Via del Fosso. There was a grocery store, bar, wine shop and restaurant one block away.

Since everyone was tired from the trip we just wandered around for a while so we could get our bearing. Ethan saw the Torre Guinigi and decided to climb it to get a good view of the city. An early dinner was had at Mio Mara, a pizzeria that Violetta said was the best in Lucca, and it was two blocks from the apartment. Everyone was ready for an early bedtime.

Second day in Lucca (Saturday): we walked the wall then went down to the antique market and wandered through the many streets lined with antiques and flea market type goods. Everyone except me found something they could not live without. Ethan had his first gelato. The look on his face as he took the first spoonful was worth the trip. After a nice lunch at Osteria Buralla we took the train to Pisa. Ethan liked the tower and the Duomo. We chose Vecchia Trattoria Burali for dinner. We showed Ethan where it was on the map and he led us there with no problems. Dinner was excellent and Ethan led us back to the apartment.

Third day in Lucca (Sunday): Strolled through the antique market on the way to St. Giovani church to see the excavations. Ethan was thrilled with the Roman ruins. After lunch at L'Antica Segilla, Barbara and Ethan rented bikes and did a few laps around the walls. Dinner at La Margharita about a block from the apartment was excellent.

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