Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Road Trip to Lucca and Pisa (by Sarah)

LUCCA (#32)

This weekend, we went my dad’s friend Marco Gherardi’s house in Lucca (not to be confused with Lupa – a contrada (area) in Siena). His family was very welcoming and hospitable, and I really enjoyed our visit. Read more, per favore!

Marco and Jane
Sophie and Mickey
To begin with, they had the cutest little beagle that was so friendly so of course we got all nostalgic about Annie and how much we miss her. We met Marco’s wife, Jane, and their kids, Sophie (9) and Mickey (3). They all speak English and Italian, except for Mickey, who is in the process of learning both.

Sophie is extremely smart and really impressed me. I was supposed to sleep in her room, which had a huge poster of Orlando Bloom as Legolas from Lord of the Rings. We had a long discussion about Lord of the Rings and books and what school is like for her. The one thing I will never forget about her was when she was talking about her school friends at the dinner table. She told us about how her ex best friend used to cut up dead birds and try to tie up her dog to a post and throw stuff at it! It was just so unexpected and surprising. I was caught completely off my guard and thought it was the funniest thing ever. Every time I think about how she said it I laugh.

When we were in Lucca, we had a day trip on Sunday to Pisa. We saw the Duomo there, and of course the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We couldn’t get as close to the altar as we wanted to because of a special mass going on. We took a few pictures and talked about the cathedral and walked around.

Then we made our way to the painting museum in Pisa. The museum had really changed since the last time my dad had seen it. When he was there, there were paintings of crucifixes and pieces of buildings just heaped together completely unorganized. When we went, the crucifixes were all together and arranged by when they were painted. The building pieces were all together in a separate room. The lighting was also absolutely gorgeous – dark enough to not damage the paintings, but light enough to see the smallest details. We went to the museum mostly to see the and how Jesus changes positions on the cross over time. At first, he is painted as if he was a god – his eyes were wide open and his body was practically weightless. Over time, he was painted more as a suffering human being. His head began to hang, and his body became twisted and full of agony. On the contrary of his godlike image before, he was now obviously hanging by the nails that pierced his hands and feet.

13th Century Crucifixion (Byzantine)
Cimabue (Gothic, Florence)
Giotto (Gothic, Florence)

Although the crucifixes were the main highlight of the museum, we also looked into more rooms and found ourselves in the Renaissance. We saw how places like Siena and Pisa went for more detail and elegance, while Florence went more basic and modern. We saw a magnificent painting of the Madonna and Jesus along with the rest of the saints by Simoni Martini. We also saw one by Massacio. I wish we had more time to analyze the rest of the paintings and look more closely at the Renaissance art. It was a fantastic museum, and I would go back there in a heartbeat.

When we got back to Lucca from Pisa, we had lunch, and then went for a little tour led by Marco around town. We went into quite a few churches. My favorite one that we saw had five naves and was very dark and Romanesque.

Lucca is a beautiful city, and had very exquisite houses as well, but I have to say that I like Siena much more.

COMMENTS from the original blog

2004-05-05 11:28:45 Barbara
Re: Road Trip to Lucca and Pisa (by Sarah)
Again you are writing about places we visited on our Tuscany tour this March.  We were in Lucca on a Sunday morning and it was the weekend in the month when there was an antiques fair by the Duomo. I wished I lived in Italy because I would have bought enough furniture to refurnish our house.  Lucca is so beautiful and I loved walking on the old city walls.  Then we also went to Pisa, but only to the Duomo area which is amazing with the three very impressive buildings in addition to the Leaning Tower.  We were almost as impressed by the Baptistery and the cloisters of the Cemetery as we were by the Duomo.  Your comments on the Renaissance art in the Museum are so insightful.

1 comment:

stefanoq said...

If you like this, be sure to see this post by Sarah about the Duccio exhibit in Siena.