We packed up our art supplies and beachwear to head out for our first field trip outside Florence.

We boarded our charter bus and met Giovanni, perhaps the happiest and kindest man behind a wheel. Our goal was  Lucca and we arrived just about an hour later.

After debarking, we walked through Lucca to San Martino, the town’s cathedral. Inside, amongst altarpieces by the likes of Tintoretto and Perugino, is the town’s most revered relic, the Volto Santo. It is a life-size Crucifix, carved of wood, and reported to be by the hand of Nicodemus (who lifted Christ’s body from the cross.) It is unusual in the fact that the eyes of the crucified Christ are open.

On September 13 and 14, there is a religious ceremony around the Volto Santo. It is removed from it’s little tempietto in San Martino, dressed in bejeweled robes, and is carried through the town of Lucca in a procession of candle-holding worshippers.

After our time in the Cathedral, we moved on to climb the Torre Guingi. After 230 steps (one of our smaller climbs thus far), we emerged at the top to find it covered with trees! The foliage provided a nice, shaded place to rest before our descent.

We had an hour to find lunch and get back to the bus, so everyone scattered to discover Lucca on their own.

Once back on the bus, we headed to Viareggio, a coastal town on the Mediterranean. The beaches are primarily private, but we know where to find a stretch of public “spiaggia” to throw out our towels and art supplies. We spent our time between drawing, painting and swimming for the next three hours, then into the town to walk the boardwalk and eat a gelato.

The ride back to Firenze was quiet as everyone napped. We had pre-ordered 21 Pizza Margarita, so went to pick them up from La Mangiatoia and had dinner in our classroom. Off to bed early since we’ve got a date with David tomorrow!