Carlo Collodi, the author of the story of Pinocchio, was the pen name of Carlo Lorenzini, who was born and grew up in Florence. The last part of his pen name was the name of the Tuscan village where Lorenzini's mother was born: Collodi. We visited the town of Collodi, where we found Il Parco di Pinocchio a Collodi, the Pinocchio Park of Collodi. It's a rather old fashioned kind of park, and we skipped it due to the excessive cost to enter. Instead the kids were each able to take home their very own book of Pinocchio. The original tale is not exactly like the Disney version. It's a much more twisted, dark, and elaborate adventure.
We found wooden Pinocchio noses too and purchased one. A new form of punishment, when caught in a lie at home, you'll have to dawn the Pinocchio nose.
Then, on to Lucca, a medieval town hidden behind imposing Renaissance walls.
Some trivia to put in your plumed hat…
Lucca was founded by the Etruscans and became a Roman colony in 180 BC and a free commune in the 12th century. (Hang with me here, I’m getting somewhere with this).
Lucca remained an independent republic for almost 500 years. Then taken by Napoleon in 1805, who created the principality of Lucca and placed his sister in control. Eventually it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy. The long periods of peace explain its preservation of the city walls which were rarely used to protect against attack. Those very walls, were the ones which we biked around on our visit. Absolutely, the best way to get an overview of the city.
A few sites along the bike ride around those Lucca city walls…
The Duomo in Lucca is dedicated to St Martin. The church has an impressive façade. Inside, as legend has it, this duomo houses the Volto Santo, an image of Christ on a wooden crucifix, said to have been carved by Nicodemused, who witnessed the crucifixion.
It wasn’t long before bellies were grumbling again, so we decided to dine in Lucca before moving on.
Wrapping up the day, we passed by abundant sunflower fields before we dropped into Pisa, only 15 minutes away from our cabin, so that we could take the quintessential Leaning Tower pictures. Four small children, and crowds, make taking such photos more challenging than one might imagine. We were not able to climb the tower because children under 8 aren’t allowed. Instead, we settled for playing in the lawn below, and meandering around the baptistery.
By far the most unexpected moment of the day, and perhaps the most amusing.
The very minute we set foot on the lawn below the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Arleigh dropped down and started rolling around, back and forth over the grass, giggling the entire time.
Then for an evening snack, gelati for everyone!