Flower farms

Saturday morning, Jim, Ilene, and I headed to Massarosa, a small town about 30 minutes from Lucca. Once a year the farms of Massarosa open up to visitors. We visited a farm growing lotus flowers, one for saffron (but the flowers were not blooming currently), and one for lavender. Yes, these are farms for flowers!

Lotuses at “I Campi di Ninfa”

Next stop – a lavender field

And other beautiful flowers too!

Sunflowers – no, then yes!

We had a wonderful visit to Massarosa but were disappointed that the sunflower fields were not in bloom. So we headed back to Lucca on the Autostrada. Ilene saw two fields of bright yellow sunflowers and I jokily asked Jim if we could go find them. He said yes and we were off on another adventure… trying to find fields of sunflowers that we had seen 10 minutes ago on the Autostrada. Ilene and I were overjoyed to be completed surrounded by sunflowers – more than either of us had ever seen. Thank you Jim for being so very patient on our pursuit of all of these flowers. Ti amo!

Thanks to Ilene for the great “people” pictures in this post and for going with us on this adventure. You can read more about Ilene and Gary, her husband, on their blog called “Our Italian Journey“.

Gardens, Sunflowers, Beaches and our Apartment

The Beauty of Tuscany… gardens, sunflowers and beaches

Yes, we made a few more day trips from Lucca. 30 minutes from Lucca is a town called Collodi. Carlo Lorenzini, author of The Adventures of Pinocchio, is from Collodi, so there are LOTS of Pinocchios in the shops, restaurants, streets, and even a Pinocchio amusement park for the kiddos. This kiosk sells two different Pinocchio designs: Italian and Disney!

There is also a beautiful and historic garden in Collodi, considered to be one of the most beautiful gardens in Italy. Despite the heat, we explored many of the paths and wandered all the way to the top.

Our church had a going-away picnic for one of our families. Naturally there was lots of food. We stayed through sunset and after dark; singing songs, sharing stories, and even a short skit. The Poot family will be missed by our church! On the way to the picnic, we passed a beautiful field of sunflowers and Jim stopped to let me take a few pics.

Everyday life in Lucca… setting up our apartment

We rented a beautiful furnished apartment in the center of town. It had all of the basic furniture, such as beds, kitchen table/chairs, couches, tables, and lamps. But it was far from “move-in” ready. We needed to buy lots of household items, like dishes, pots, pans, linens, TV, etc. As we did that, we slowly morphed the apartment into a home that really meets our needs. So here are some “before” and “after” pictures of our apartment.

The TV Room: The website description of the next room says “A long corridor, furnished with a sofa to be a warm and cosy reading-corner”. We weren’t quite sure how to use this space with a low & slanted ceiling and consider many options. Our current setup is one of the most useful rooms of the apartment – a reading-corner, bookcases to separate the room into two parts, and a very comfy TV view area. And Jim had lots of fun lighting this area… One “before” picture and several “after” pictures for this space!

The Altana: Our favorite room… up the steps in the kitchen leads to a square room with large windows on each side, giving us a 360° view of Lucca and the surrounding mountains. We mostly moved furniture from other parts of the apartment to set up this room. And bought a great piece of art from a local artist… Jim again had fun with the lighting. One “before” and one “after” picture:

We still have a lot of decorating to do. We visited the local antique market a few weekends ago and found some fun items. They are held monthly so more treasure hunting ahead for us. There are also lots of local artists here that we are discovering. Italians say “piano, piano” which means slowly, you’ll get it, don’t rush. We are trying to learn this concept!