I got here a week into July, and immediately hated everything. Temperatures above 30C, humidity above 75%, and jet lag made everything appear lacklustre. I knew what was happening, though - didn't make it better, not at that point, but it helped me to remember that I would get used to things and it would get easier when my sleep evened out.
Anyway, here I was in Lucca, within the walls of a medieval city built on top of a Roman settlement. You can see the stones of the original Roman walls in places, especially at the gates and the amphitheatre. (Not currently an actual amphitheatre - there's a round piazza there now.) (Just outside that piazza is a restaurant that is one year older than Italy. I still haven't been.) The streets are all flagstone or cobblestone, narrow and hemmed by tall buildings everywhere in the city. The sun is hot, but it's almost always possible to find shade.
I live on Via Buia, which means Dark Street, so called because it's so very narrow and tall that it almost never gets any sun. There's maybe half an hour at beginning and end of day where the sun reaches the ground this time of year. The apartment where I live is on the fifth floor and there is no elevator. Consequently, my glutes, and in fact my entire posterior chain, have had to - I'm just gonna say it - step up.
I like where I'm living, even though we're directly above an ambulance bay. Other things we're above: a square with an aquaduct fountain where I get most of my drinking water, the best produce store in town, and a halfway decent gelato place. Walking distance to our rehearsal space is 10-15 minutes, depending how congested the foot traffic is - there are no sidewalks; motor vehicles are somewhat rare and use the same passages as pedestrians and cyclists.
Oh, listen: it's sax-o-clock. There's a busker who sets up shop around 1pm and 8pm every. single. day. and plays the exact same ten-minute set every time. I sometimes hear him faintly at other times; I imagine he makes the rounds of all the piazzas in the city. His intonation is marred by his enthusiasm, but he's got style, I'll give him that.
Almost all the doors and shutters here are dark green. I imagine that has something to do with sumptuary laws or something like that.
There are 99 churches in Lucca proper and probably close to as many gelato places. (Maybe not quite. But there are a Lot.) My favourite is the hipster place on Via Santa Croce (one of the two main cross-streets) that sells salted pistachio gelato. I wish I could bring some back with me. It's really unbelievable.
I will make a separate post about the musical happenings thus far, since this post is quite long enough to go on with. I just want to add that the lady at the gelato place said last week that my Italian was getting better, and that the barista at the Drogheria just near our rehearsal space now greets me with "Ciao, cara! Dimmi."
Also, I have a tan.