Sunday in Lucca

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If there is one thing you can count on it's this - if it's Sunday in Italy, the sound of church bells will fill the air. It's an enchanting sound, and walking through the quiet city on my first Sunday morning back in Italy, it established a perfect sense of time and place for me. Today is Sunday and I am in Lucca.

Sunday is also a good day to visit churches. And for such a small city, Lucca has A LOT of churches filled with architectural, artistic, and religious interest.

 Santa Maria della Rosa church  

Santa Maria della Rosa church  

One very special church is Santa Maria della Rosa, which happens to be right across from my apartment. One side of this small church is built up against the original Roman wall of the city and the church is one of the few places in Lucca where the oldest wall can be seen (the current wall that  surrounds Lucca is from the Renaissance period).

 A section of the Roman wall, built circa 200 BC, lies within the church. 

A section of the Roman wall, built circa 200 BC, lies within the church. 

The church is intimate and shadowy with beautiful frescos and a serene vibe that is perfect for prayer, meditation, contemplation or just deep breaths and a pause from the outside world. Tourists rarely wander into this church, so it remains quiet. There is a beautiful painting of a Madonna holding three pink roses over the main altar. As with most of the churches here it is possible to take photographs, but only "senza flash"  (without flash).

 Just one of the beautiful frescoes inside the church of Santa Maria della Rosa. 

Just one of the beautiful frescoes inside the church of Santa Maria della Rosa. 

If it happens to be the fourth Sunday of the month you can also count on finding an arts and crafts fair in the area surrounding Piazza San Giusto.

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On this Sunday, the piazza was filled with merchants selling artisanal soaps, beautiful hand-painted pins and jewelry, brightly colored wooden tops that spin and nearly hypnotize, papercrafts, leather goods, woven scarves, brightly colored ceramics, paintings, and even art pieces made completely from painted sassi (stones). Wandering through all these beautiful things is a wonderful Sunday morning pastime.

 Hand-painted terra cotta pins

Hand-painted terra cotta pins

 Brightly colored spinning tops

Brightly colored spinning tops

 Hand-made scented soaps

Hand-made scented soaps

Sunday afternoon brought rain showers and chilly weather, a perfect excuse to put the Moka on the stove, sip a cup of coffee, read, and have a little pisolino (nap). I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday in Italy!                                                           -post by JMB

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Paper crafts