September is a good month to be in Lucca and many people know it. Classes have literally tripled in size. I learned that people often choose to come to Lucca in Sept. to learn italian because of the September events. Currently, there's a film festival occurring and every Italian I've met thus far has used "film festival" interchangeably with "David Lynch." Apparently he's a kind of a big deal here. He may actually be a big deal back home but I did have to google him. I'll admit that I'm embarrassingly lacking in film knowledge and I think Top Gun is a fantastic cultural film. Shame on me right?
The biggest of the big festivals in Lucca is the Festa di Santa Croce, and what a town party it was. During Santa Croce, the city is lit up........in candles. When we first walked around the corner it looked like Christmas lights (oh happy me). A slightly closer inspection and you see that this city actually put up and lit thousands, upon thousands of candles. Sister cities from around the world visit and participate in the processional of Volto Santo or Holy Face. David Lynch may have to share his title because Volto Santo is definitely a big deal here. It's a wooden carving attributed back to contemporaries of Joseph Arimathea and is referenced in Dante's Inferno. Lucca is believed to have had possession of this relic since the 700s. While I'm familiar with Holy Grail stories as they pertain to medieval literature and Arthurian legend, it was pretty fascinating to learn about these Holy Grail type legends within Italian culture.
I couldn't even begin to capture the number of candles that were put up in the city. We watched men in ladder trucks still taking down lights weeks after the event ended.
Piazza San Michele, barely standing room only.
What's an Italian festa without an Italian aperitivo? The aperol spritz has become a wonderful, warm weather friend. It's a bit on the sweet side but when in Italy....
The processional ends inside of the church of San Martino. The young and more ambitious than me crowd stays (or comes) for the midnight fireworks show. It sounded like quite the show as I listened to it from the welcoming comfort of my bed.