Marching into an Italian Spring

How you feel about the month of March may depend on where you live. As a kid growing up in New York, I remember March as a month of dirty snow, lingering cold, and a spring that seemed an impossibly long way off. A “blah” month altogether. Here in New Mexico, March holds a strong hint of spring, with bright sunny days breaking up the colder stretches that still speak of winter. It’s an inspiring month – time to plant lettuce and spinach, to pack up the winter sweaters, and begin daydreaming about spring flowers.

 Santa Zita Flower Market, Lucca, spring 2013

Santa Zita Flower Market, Lucca, spring 2013

But the best thing about the month of March is that it heralds last-minute preparations for my spring trip to Italy. I love arriving in late March, when it’s still cool and often rainy, and watching as spring unfolds. I look forward to the warming temperatures and seasonal events of spring in Lucca - the feast of Santa Zita with its wonderful flower market, the Good Friday procession, Easter, Liberation Day, the Verde Mura Gardening Show atop the walls. As spring progresses, the flowers bud and begin to bloom, the cafes set up their outdoor patios, which fill with lively conversations over meals and drinks, the musicians return to the piazzas, local spring produce begins to appear in the markets (asparagus!), and le mura (the walls) fill with people - walking, jogging, biking - turning the walls once again into the central park of Lucca. 

 Vinca for sale at the Verde Mura Plant and Garden Show in Lucca, 2016.

Vinca for sale at the Verde Mura Plant and Garden Show in Lucca, 2016.

So today, while I’m finalizing the details for my upcoming trip, I’m thinking about Italy and the joy that awaits me there. In that spirit, here are some photos from past spring trips. I hope they will make you think of warm days, soft Italian spring nights, the sound of glasses clinking at an outdoor cafe, green hillsides, verdant gardens, the lyrical notes of the Italian language and maybe, just maybe, they will inspire you to begin planning your own Italian adventure.                                                                                        -post by JB

 The green hillsides of the Garfagnana in spring as seen from the town of Sillico, 2012.

The green hillsides of the Garfagnana in spring as seen from the town of Sillico, 2012.

 The rooftops of Lucca in spring, 2016.

The rooftops of Lucca in spring, 2016.

 Colorful umbrellas protect tourists from a spring rain in Lucca, 2016.

Colorful umbrellas protect tourists from a spring rain in Lucca, 2016.

 One of my all-time favorite photos - a groom on the way to his spring wedding, Lucca, 2012.

One of my all-time favorite photos - a groom on the way to his spring wedding, Lucca, 2012.

 Medieval Festival, Spring 2015

Medieval Festival, Spring 2015