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Life in Lucca, Week 1, September 5

by Melissa Cicci
On the basis of a 3-hour speed tour through Lucca two years ago, my husband and I decided to do a trial run in living in Italy. We've rented an apartment for three months in this small city in Tuscany. Apartment is probably not the right word for this flat in a 16th-century palazzo. The current owner, an American expatriate, is only the most recent in a long line of interesting people that tell the story of the Palazzo Arnolfini.

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Beyond Doorways Travel designs custom travel for individuals, families and small groups. We are certified as a Verified Travel Consultant by the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC).

We are passionate about meaningful, uncommon, out-of-the-ordinary travel experiences. Colleagues and friends have shared their travel stories on our site since 2008. In Fall 2014, Beyond Doorways Travel is based in Lucca, Italy.

Go West Young Man: A Journey on New Zealand's TranzAlpine Railway

Tranz AlpinePreviewFinal
by Nicholas Walton
My breath fogs up the window and I have to bunch up my sleeve to wipe away the condensation that's building the higher we climb, but the view is well worth the effort. Outside is a winter wonderland, a landscape of steep mountain sides, their peaks lost in low clouds, their flanks pasted with thick icing sugar snow that lies in clumps beside the railway line. I feel as if we're at the top of the world as the train chugs and shrugs its way up the incline, climbing ever higher into the snowy mountains, children of all ages up and down the carriage staring out fogged up windows, noses pressed against the glass, eyes wide.

'Murabilia,' Flowers and Food as Art

Murabilia Murainflore is an annual botanical exhibition and market held on Lucca's walls, Le Mura. In cooperation with the Botanical Gardens of Lucca, the event is now in its 14th year. This lively exhibition is a gathering of many of Italy's - and Europe's - most inventive growers and farmers of flowers, produce and food. I don't know much about botanicals, but I appreciated the artful displays. Visitors are eager to look, listen, engage in spirited conversation, and carry home flowering plants to fill their window boxes and courtyards.

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