Photo of the Week: Lucca & Alfredo Catalani

Photo of the Week: Lucca & Alfredo Catalani

While this may look like a dream, it is in fact a real place. A place that feels a little like a dream every time I go there. A place called Lucca. This photo was taken from atop the city’s 16th-century walls that are now home to a park/promenade that circles the city. A park on top of a wall, you ask? Well these are not just any walls. They are more than 10 meters (almost 33 feet) tall, and up to 30 meters (almost 100 feet) thick at the base. On top of all those fun measurements, this massive defensive structure is almost 2.5 miles long. There is a whole other world happening on top of these walls. You can walk on them, ride bikes around them, take a nap in the grass that grows on them, or just enjoy the view from 33 feet above the stunning city of Lucca.

One of the lovely works of art on top of the walls is this bronze sculpture that was made to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of the operatic composer Alfredo Catalani, who was from Lucca. There must be something in the water in Lucca because it has produced an incredible number of famous composers, including the one and only, Giacomo Puccini. Catalani died quite young and while his operas have not enjoyed Puccini’s fame, he was highly respected by contemporaries. In particular, Arturo Toscanini, who named his daughter after Catalani’s most famous work, “La Wally.” Listening to Catalani while standing on the walls makes for a dramatic soundtrack to this gorgeous city.
 
Here is a taste of Catalani’s work and there is plenty more on YouTube. This one is called “A Sera,” or At Evening, which became the prelude to the final act of his opera “La Wally.”
 
While you’re there, drink the water. You never know.
 
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