I think I may have mentioned that we’ve had a lot of visitors at Col Buttero this year:) This last visit of the year was very special because baby, should probably be toddler, Bumble arrived in late July with his parents Sapphy and Dave. They came to stay for two weeks and we had such a lot of fun. We did spend most of the time by the pool where Bumble learnt to dive and swim, after a fashion, I mean he’s only three. He had to be watched every second especially as he liked to just jump in, head first, safe in the knowledge that someone, somewhere, would catch him. Now that’s trust.
We also visited Apecchio, Piobicco and Gubbio as days out and a two night visit to Lucca.
Lucca is 3.5 hour drive from the house and the drive itself is fine. The trouble, and I knew this would happen, is that Lucca is not a town to drive in. Stands to reason as it’s an old walled city and because of this, I’d mapped out car parks on the outside of the walls where we’d be able to park without problems the day before we left. Yet somehow, we ended up driving through the old gates into what I can only describe as a nightmare of small roads and oneway systems. This is what caused me to go very grumpy. The car with Sapphy, Dave and Bumble had neatly driven to the hotel and parked up. They probably found it a bit easier as their car was small and we had a tank of a Jeep. We managed to squeeze into a carparking space where we could stay for a couple of hours and went, in silence, to find the others. Once we found them and checked in to the hotel, I couldn’t stay grumpy any longer because of Bumble. It’s just not possible to be annoyed with worldly things when he’s around. We need to bring him along when we go Ikea because that shop has a tendency to make us argue.
The hotel we stayed in was La Gemma Di Elena. It’s really central and sweet but on their website they indicate that all rooms have a balcony or patio and that was the one thing we had to have as Bumble goes to sleep earlier than the rest of us and we wanted some outdoor space right next to him so that we could sit and chat over a drink whilst he slept. This was not to be. The rooms did not have balconys or patios. There was a garden we could use but it was too far away from Bumble. Result was early nights and not quite the fabulous trip I had had in mind.
Lucca itself is beautiful. There are lots of bars, restaurants and Gelato on every street. We wandered along the cobbled streets, ate and drank and shopped.
We had a pretty appaling meal the first night, my mind has blocked where it was, but, the following day, on Piazza Anfiteatro, there is a restaurant called L’Angolo Tondo and there we had one of the best meals I’ve ever had. I can’t remember what it was but everybody else’s food looked amazing too so I reckon you can just go ahead and order anything and you’ll love it. One of the waiters explained in great detail what every item was and where and how it had been prepared. The waitress was a spitting image of Jenna Coleman and really lovely.
If you do go to Lucca, beware of invisible biting insects. Most of them live in the grass, in the garden of the hotel, and we were all bitten, a lot! I think this applies to a lot of Italian towns in summer, and I don’t want to point to this hotel in particular. Maybe bring a bottle or two of insect spray along.
It might seem a bit boring but for dinner we went back to that Piazza and tried a different restaurant. It was ok, nothing special, but children ran around the square, playing with footballs etc. and Bumble did the same. Because he was happy, we were happy.
It was only a two night stay and on the way back to Col Buttero we stopped at Arezzo for lunch. We’ve been to Arezzo before, popped in for lunch a few times on our way to a second hand furniture shop in Laterina. It’s quite a big town but not as busy as the more famous ones like Florence. It’s well worth a visit if you’re ever in the area.
Now, they’ve left and it’s just me and hubby here at the house, wandering around like ghosts, missing the noise of the baby Bumble.