On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.
I don’t want to keep repeating that I love Italy, so I’ve chosen just to show you more of her beauty and tell you what you’re looking at.
Located west of Florence, Lucca is a medieval town with a well-preserved historical center. Completely surrounding the historical center are defensive walls dating back to the 17th century. Today, the walls hold a a four-kilometer park that encircle the city.
Each September, the people of Lucca celebrate the Festa di Santa Croce. Thousands of candles outline the windows of the buildings in the historic center, and workers begin lighting them on the afternoon of the festa. At dark, the lights shine on the hundreds of participants who parade through the town to honor the holy cross. (Click to enlarge small photos)
Rolling hills. Tall cypress. Old farmhouses.. What you experience in the Chianti region of Tuscany is exactly what you see in those most wonderful paintings. I will tell you, though, that it is not the only beautiful countryside in Italy.
Umbria, the only region in Italy that is completely landlocked, prides itself on its beautiful green hills and valleys. Spoleto, which has been around since 241 BC, is a central location for visiting most of the region. Built in the 13th century, the Ponte delle Torre (Bridge of the Towers, above) spans 250 meters and stands about 90 meters high. It gets its name from the six-towered fortress at the end of the walk.
Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi, sits atop a hill above Santa Maria degli Angeli, another Umbrian town. While he was born in Assisi, St. Francis spent most of his time preaching from a little chapel near Santa Maria. The chapel actually sits within the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli (above right) not far from the reputed spot where he died. After his death, Pope Gregory IX had a basilica built in Assisi to house the saint’s remains.
Orvieto sits on a mound of volcanic tuff (tufa), a porous rock made of compressed volcanic ash. The historic town crowns the almost-vertical cliffs that rise over 1000 feet. Under the city, over 1200 tunnels and passageways, stairs and cellars, quarries and rooms, and cisterns and wells. When the town was under attack, the rich could escape through the labyrinth to a place far from the city walls.
Have I enticed you to Italy yet?