One of the best thing that you can do when you arrive in an Italian city is to ask where are the popular bars for aperitivo, especially in summer. It has become a ritual for the weekend, sometimes it can even replace the dinner (you will find quite often the word apericena) or a birthday party.
It is something very informal and easy and you can really meet the locals and do some people watching. You might be surprised that the bars can be a very tiny place and the people do not sit down but they are just standing outside in the middle of the street holding a glass and chatting, chatting, chatting…
I would say that the main ingredients for a good aperitivo are: drinks, buffet, music and location. I will explain better each one of them, what you have to look for and what the Italians/lucchese people like in the following posts.
For now let’s start with the location. It can be relevant or not so much… I have been to bars in the middle of nowhere, in ugly industrial districts or in such anonymous places where you keep wondering why people go there. Instead there are some places which really put you in the mood for a spritz as a roof top terrace, a square, the bank of a river, the beach…and lately in Lucca, the Guinigi Tower!
I was there a couple of weeks ago because the event organizer called me to be the final surprise…
After the closing time, a limited group of people is allowed to climb the 230 steps to reach the 7 oak trees at the top of XIV century tower. A glass of wine and a small tray full of delicious food samples are provided and then they just need to turn around to enjoy a 360degrees panorama: the churches, the myriad of roof tops, the countryside surroundings and the profile of the Apuan Alps at sunset! An incredible feast for your eyes but even your ears will be pleased by the sweet music played by the Boccherini Music school students…
As soon as I climbed the last step I was impressed by the atmosphere and the light: the lady celebrating her birthday, her husband confessed me later that even on their wedding day, he had to climb the tower to take pictures; it seemed that the rest of the world did not exist for the romantic couple in the corner, the girls smartly dressed for the night were catching up on the past week, the students of the Lucca Italian school savoring the pleasures of an Italian summer evening.
My role at the end was quite unexpected. I gave some information on the tower, the palace, the architecture and finally the interesting story of the Guinigi family. Most of the time you only hear about Paolo… but his predecessors and descendants have had a lively and busy life! I hope I could add some value to the evening.
This year has been the first edition of this venue, hopefully it will continue. Anyway there are still a couple of dates available on September 2nd and 17th, the price is 25€ p.person. Booking is required and you can contact me or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Places are limited!!!
In case you will be visiting Lucca with a small group in the near future and you think this can be an experience you would like to offer… do not hesitate to ask me for more details!
This a short video I made with my phone… just to give you an idea