I haven’t finished documenting last year’s trip to Ireland but it’s time to start working on our trip to Italy. Planning a trip is like taking a new job. It requires commitment, development of relationships and a spirit of adventure. With me, all trips begin with a map. This time we decided on a National Geographic Map that was waterproof, tear-resistant and gave us an overall view of Italy.

We have a general idea of when we want to travel — Spring — and where — the upper part of Italy with a couple of key cities we wanted to be sure to visit — Venice, Lucca, and Verona. Then we decided on an estimated amount of time we wanted to spend in Italy — two months. So we are all set to begin the planning phase.

This is not our first trip to Italy and we do have some favorite places that we wanted to include in our trip. With that in mind, we began to map out a potential itinerary. We started with what is going to be our longest stop — a three week stay in Lucca — before the high tourist season but when the weather is beginning to warm up.

For a three week stay we decided that we needed an apartment so we began to look at VRBO (vacation rental by owner) and AIR B&B. Looking ahead a year you have the most choice. We settled on VRBO and booked our three week stay. We were required to put about a third down with the remaining amount due a few weeks before our stay begins. This reservation becomes our anchor point and we will build the rest of our trip around the stay in Lucca.

Why Choose Lucca for a Three Week Stay?

Lucca is located between Florence and Pisa, a short distance from Montecatini. It is the upper region of Tuscany with access to vineyards, small hill towns and historical sites. It is also close to the coast and its beaches. Cinque Terre (the 5 towns) is a short train ride away.

Lucca, itself, is a small walled city with a laid back atmosphere. Plenty of cafes and restaurants are available and you amble about town never needing a car. It has centrally located bus and train stations which make it easy to take day trips throughout the area. Lucca has lots of historic interest (like everywhere in Italy) and some major places a half hour away by train — Florence and Pisa. Our focus, when we travel, is to see a smaller area well. Get to know the people and experience everyday life. Lucca seems a perfect choice for this agenda. We’ll relax and submerge in the “Italian Way”.

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