Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lerici, Liguria (by way of Parma!)

Lerici, Liguria
Last week I went to visit friends in Parma, in the region of Emilia-Romagna. I'd last seen Renata and Pietro in the fall of 2009. In 2007 and 2008, I spent several weeks as a guest at the Palazzo Ducale in Parma, so I'm very familiar with this affluent city in northern Italy. Parma is famous for many things, including its prosciutto (Parma ham) and of course, parmigiano-reggiano (parmesan cheese). The Barilla pasta factories, whose pasta products line the shelves of grocery stores in many countries (including the U.S.) are also located there. In addition, Parma is known for it opera house and annual Verdi festival, and I was able to attend a performance of Rigoletto there  in 2008.

Bike and scooters parked in Parma
After arriving about 2 pm in Parma, Renata and I set out on bicycles to tour the centro storico. This area of Italy,  known as the Pianura Padana (Po Valley), is flat, so biking is a common way to get around town in many cities of Emilia-Romagna. We rode around on cobbled streets, stopped for a gelato shaped like a rose, and visited two of my favorite parks in Italy: the Parco Ducale and the Cittadella. The Cittadella was built in the late 1500's as a pentagonal citadel, but its high walls now enclose a community park. I've previously written about the Parco Ducale, which you can read by accessing this link: Parco Ducale.

Parco Ducale, Parma, 2008
The next day, we drove to Liguria, on the western coast of Italy. Driving through the countryside was a real treat, as both the Apennini and Alpi Apuani mountain ranges were in view throughout our 90-minute drive. Our destination was the seaside village of Lerici, on the Italian Riviera.

A scene along the autostrada
It was a lovely sunny day, and since it was mid-week, there were no crowds in Lerici as there might be on the weekend. However, we did see many people sunbathing, choosing the free beaches or the rocks rather than paying for a space with an umbrella.

this beach is likely to be full on the weekend
We strolled along the lungomare (walkway by the sea), had a leisurely lunch, (the best pizza I've ever eaten!) and simply enjoyed being near the sea!

Piazza in Lerici where we had lunch
Later, we drove further down the coast, and into Tuscany, to see friends of Renata's who were visiting from Germany. They had rented a villa in Marina di Massa, another seaside town. On the way, we passed by the famous mountains of Carrara, where marble is mined. It is well known that Michelangelo came here to choose the marble for his sculptures, but the same marble was used in ancient Rome to build the Pantheon and Trajan's Column. 

The mountains of Carrara, with blocks of marble in the foreground
I'm very thankful to Renata and Pietro for their hospitality, generosity and companionship during my short stay in Parma. I look forward to more travels with them in the future!

Renata and  Pietro in Lerici

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Blumen Riviera said...
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