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Report 834: There's No Such Thing as Too Much...Pasta and Ceramics

By Palma from California, Fall 2005

Trip Description: September 3-26, 2005 Shopping and Eating Our Way Through Tuscany, Umbria and the Amalfi Coast

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, Umbria

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Foodie Trip; Shopping; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 3-4 people

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Page 1 of 23: September 3-4: Palm Desert to Lucca

photo by Palma Hansen

Locanda L'Elisa

This was our third trip together to Italia for my husband, Brad, and I (fourth for me). We traveled with friends, Jan and Les, who have been to Rome, Venice and Florence, but had never been to a hilltown, or driven through rural areas. We are in our mid-fifties. This trip report (the first I’ve written) describes our accommodations, lots of food, and even more shopping experiences, as I was over-the–top on purchasing ceramics and many other Italian treasures.

Our Palm Springs shuttle picked us up at 7:45 for the ride to LAX where we were first in line at the British Air counter to check in. After hamburgers at The Daily Grill (our last for a month), our flight left for London on time at 3:35. My Excedrin P.M. ensured my 6 hours of sleep on the flight. We had a driver named “Jazz” to get us from Heathrow to Gatwick in 40 minutes, where I found a Starbucks and smoking lounge to settle into until our gate was announced for the flight to Pisa. We found Jan and Les on the way to the gate. After a slight delay we were on our short flight to Pisa, arriving at 5:05 p.m.. We arranged our “too much luggage” in the seven passenger Ford van (after unsuccessfully trying to ditch the two rear seats with the Eurocar people) and drove off to our hotel outside of Lucca.

Locanda d’Elisa was even more charming than advertised. It is a five star, periwinkle blue villa with eight Junior Suites. Our room on the first floor had French doors leading our to our own private garden with table, chairs and umbrella, a beautiful canopied bed, and a lovely sitting room with dining table, sofa and chair. There were fresh flowers in three places and a modern marbled bath. After freshening up and exploring the beautiful grounds and pool area, we went in to Lucca for dinner at Il Giglio. After a glass of Proseco, I had proscuitto with fresh figs, and papardelle with sugo di coniglio. Brad had the same pasta and roast lamb. We enjoyed a bottle of Banfi Sauvignon Blanc, then went for a walk to a crowded gelateria where I tried fresh fig gelato. Wonderful food, a beautiful setting, a lovely way to begin our Italian adventure!

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