Friday, June 8, 2007

More about the Wall



Hello!
Firstly, David and Kate fans: thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, I am very proud of my children (also the two who are not in show business), not just for their talents but also for their courage in following their chosen paths. Hmmm, you ask for embarassing moments, I will have to think about that one. I do owe Kate an embarassing moment for exposing my burst appendix to the world! That was an interesting experience: David INSISTED that I go into hospital that night and so actually I owe my life to him and to my Lucchese friend Nicola who arranged the ambulance very quickly. Kate came with me in the ambulance and stuck by me in emerg and made me laugh, which hurts a lot when you have a burst appendix!! Seriously, it was great from my point of view to have them there, but they were a bit traumatized by the experience! Worst holiday EVER, I think David said.

The purpose of this blog is to tell you a bit about the gigantic wall that surrounds Lucca. Lucca was originally an Etruscan settlement, then an important town in Roman times hosting figures such as Julius Caesar. In medieval times it became a city-state republic and with some brief exceptions, it remained independent until Napoleon invaded Italy. He gave Lucca to his sister and she and her husband ruled here in the early 19th century. After the fall of Napoleon in 1815, it became part of the Austrian Empire until the Unification of Italy in the 1860s when it became part of the province of Tuscany.
The city originally had a Roman wall and then as the city grew, a medieval wall confined its borders. In the 16th century Lucca faced a number of threats, especially from Medici Florence, and so the government gathered a number of architectual experts and an army of skilled workers and set about building a massive wall with bastions which could withstand attack from the increasing threat of gunpowder weaponry. It took 100 years to build, from the mid-sixteenth until the mid-seventeenth century. The city was never attacked after the wall was constructed, and remained intact. Today it serves as a wonderful 4.5 km tree-lined park, enjoyed by the Lucchese and tourists alike. It is a no-traffic zone where one can walk, run, cycle, rollerblade or just sit on one of the many park benches and read or chat.

18 comments:

iB said...

Wow, the pictures look great. Thank you Mrs Hewlett. Lucca must be full of history.. I can only imagine how great it must be there.
Enjoy the weekend.. Ivana =)

B3x said...

Beautiful pictures. It really must be amazing to live in a place like Lucca.

MushyPup said...

These pictures are wonderful! I'm glad you've started this blog to give us some insight into the special culture that is Lucca.

I'm curious if the wall has survived untouched through the various world conflicts and how it has influenced the lifestyle and culture of the town itself. I look forward to learning more about enchanting place as time goes on.

Thank heavens your kids were there when you fell ill. I bet they both earned back a few points they lost through their teen years. Glad all ended well and now we have all three of you here as part of our little online circle. Very cool.

Kathy said...

My knowledge of Italian History is very limited but I'm curious as to what Lucca had against the Medici family.

Ahh David's a sensible boy!

Its funny how some holidays don't pan out the way you expect.

Yeoyou said...

Dear Mrs Hewlett!

As seemingly all the others, I came here because of your youngest sister and your son. They're both very great - as I'm sure your other kids are as well! It's wonderful you followed your heart and moved to Italy. I hope I'll be able to visit it one day but so far my heart belongs to the UK and especially Scotland. My greatest wish is to live there one day since I'm stuck in Germany for now.
But the pictures you posted prove that Italy is well deserving a visit by everyone. I look forward to learn more about Lucca. You see? It's a good thing you came to the blogging world and draw all the Hewlett fans to your blog because now you can teach us all and we'll happily listen-or rather read just because you're a Hewlett! *g*
Good luck with all and everything! Yeoyou

NZ_Jackie said...

Wow, David amd Kate just become better Children by the minute.
What a cool history of the town, I would love to see it!!
The Pics are great, I love the look of the buildings.
Lets hope your Children are always there.

M said...

Mary,

Those picture bring me good memories of Pisa... the architecture is very similar.

I love it that the Italian towns have walls around them. The weather must be gorgeous now that summer is around? I recall it being unusually warm when I was around in February...

One day, one day, one day, I will re-visit Italy again. I honestly love the views.

Thanks for the gorgeous pics!

Patricia said...

Welcome to the blog world. It takes courage to pursue your dream, and it sounds like you've chosen a beautiful dream to live. You've got guts! Well, less guts than you used to have, but you're using the remaining ones well.

Fran said...

Great pictures. Thankyou for sharing them with us.

Ahhh David and Kate two wonderful people in the world. And you of course it is wonderful that you are sharing this Blog with us. So that makes you wonderful too.

Once again
Thanks

Fran

Becky S said...

Greetings Mrs. Hewlett. So very nice that you followed David and Kate's suggestion and started your own blog. I am looking forward to reading whatever you feel like writing about. I love history, so there is nothing you could talk about that I would be bored with. And seeing as I have never been to Italy (but would love to go) any and all pictures are welcome. And as you will be talking about Italy and history, my boyfriend will be interested too.

I'm very glad you listened to David when you had your burst appendix. Both of my parents are gone so I would like your children to have you around for some time yet.

If I may ask - and hopefully not bore others with the question - when the various walls were being built around the city, what became of the old wall(s)? Were they: torn down completely and the material used to create other buildings, walk paths, ect? Incorporated (like the foundation of a house) into the new walls? Torn down with the building materials used to help create the new walls? Built 'on top of' one another as many older European cities tended to build one on top of another?

Welcome again to the world of blogging, and thank you for taking the time to tell us about things in Italy and for putting up with us curious people.

Yeoyou said...

It's me again because I just remembered taht Iw anted to ask you if you've got any pets? I guess we all now that David and Kate have so I wondered for which side you would go? cats or Dogs? Or something quite different?

shelsfc said...

Hi Mrs Hewlett,
I found your blog through Kate's! Those photos are beautiful, Lucca must be a lovely place. I've never been to Italy but I'd love to visit.
I'm really interested in history, so thank you aswell for telling us a bit about Lucca's history

:)

Cindee said...

What a great experience to live in such a lovely place. I'm anxious to see more pictures of Lucca and the surrounding area. Keep blogging, your doing great!

Live Out Loud said...

I've never been to Italy but the second picture reminds me of Spain because of the bright colors. You don't see buildings made with those kinds of colors in Chicago.

Now, I've always wondered, when they're building these walls that take decades to finish, how are they manning their posts and defending their spot? Have towns been overtaken during this time and the new people finish the wall? Just curious.

As for the appendix, I had my sister and my Mom during my ordeal. Family is so wonderful. I can just picture your son making comments. I had to withstand my family joking around despite the seriousness of it, as well. Yes, it is painful to laugh AFTER the appendix is taken out, too! But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Danielle the Paranoid Android said...

Whenever I read about Napoleon's claims on Italy I am always torn between my love of Napoleon and my love of Italy. I think it is so cool you had to guts to move there!

Elsie said...

I love Lucca, just reading this blog is making me ache to go back and visit.

Walled cities always have the best history, and I say this in an entirely unbiased way despite living in York.

Wolfen said...

*Waves* Hello, and welcome to blogdom!

Regarding David saving your life: it's least he could do, 'ey, seeing as you gave him his? ;) Kidding, kidding, I'm glad he inisited, and that you listened. Your children are very talented, and I, for one, am grateful to have been exposed to their talents!

This promises to be a very edcuational blog! I love learning new things, and I've never heard of the wall of Lucca before! Thank-you!

spacedmonkey said...

Hi! Appendix bursting is horrible. Mine burst at school last year (I teach special needs kids in England) and I had spent the morning trying to teach with my knees pulled up to my chest until I was dragged to hospital.

Glad you are recovered.