Lucca 2021 - Our return to Italy - ouritalianjourney

It’s Here – Lucca 2021!

We have begun our Lucca 2021 adventure because, as many of you know, we are dual citizens of Italy. Also, many of you know that our travel plans last year were squashed like everyone else’s. It changed our world. This pandemic changed everyone’s world. We returned from our year-long stay in Italy in December 2019.

This post contains affiliate links that help keep this website running. By purchasing through our links, we make a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for your support!

Our Return from Italy 2019

Returning to Gary’s daughter’s home, we realized when restrictions were being issued by Arizona’s governor and the United States government, we were not going to be allowed to travel. Although, as Italian citizens, we could have returned to Italy at any time. But we both choose to let Italy heal and stay put in Arizona. This would be the year we attend events we normally miss when traveling. All our grandchildren’s birthdays occur during the summer – we would now get to celebrate with them once again.

Of course, 2020 turned out to be an amazing year for us as we were able to publish our first-ever book, Our Italian Journey, a travel-adventure memoir of living in Italy for a year. What a crazy year – living through a pandemic, and… becoming published authors!

Take a Trip to Italy!

Join others who have purchased and read our book – leaving heartwarming reviews!
Join our journey – we’d love to have you along for the ride!

Books by Ilene and Gary Modica, Our Italian Journey, When Your Heart Finds Its Home and audiobook,

Returning to Italy

During this year in Arizona, we rescheduled our flights with American Airlines to depart on March 31, 2021. We had every intention of returning to Arezzo, but our apartment was already rented by a local soccer player. Who knows how long he’ll stay we thought when we received confirmation from Marcello, the apartment owner, the reason the apartment was not showing available on the Airbnb website.

We began to look elsewhere. Spello, another favorite town located in Umbria was showing higher rents than we expected. Especially since tourists weren’t allowed into Italy. Nothing in our budget range.

Deciding on Lucca

I came across a lovely apartment in Lucca. One of our many favorite towns in Tuscany. I contacted the owner by email, and we agreed upon a reduced price. But VRBO was requesting an exceptionally large deposit for our seven months stay. Communication with Riccardo was wonderful. He realized the amount of over €3000,00 was indeed a bit steep. He emailed that this arrangement would need a bit of trust on both our parts. If we booked and paid for just our first month, he would hold the balance of the year for us, indicating on VRBO that the apartment wasn’t available. But how would I know he wouldn’t rent it from under us? This is where the trust factor came into play. We both had to be part of it – and it turned out just fine.

Forward ahead to today

Arrived in Lucca 2021, Tuscany

Today, our story is about Lucca 2021 as we are currently here in Tuscany. Lucca is a beautiful mid-size medieval town with an amazing ancient wall around the historic center. It is within these walls you can find our apartment. Conveniently in the piazza next to the Duomo. We are loving our apartment and its location and wanted to share with you a little glimpse of it.

This apartment is located in Piazza San Giovanni and is quiet, along with the rest of the streets at this time. It is eerie at times when we walk to the grocery store and only a bicycle or two passes us or a few people walking on the street. The curfew is 10:00 pm and that doesn’t bother us at all. We are not “night owls” or the partying type. Not these days, anyway.

Current Restrictions

Currently, the Italian Ministry of Health has restrictions in place. Especially because of the Easter holiday, they changed every zone in Italy to the color “red.” This means no travel is allowed outside of your city or town. We understand they did this to contain large gatherings during the holiday and to try and keep the virus from spreading further. Somewhat contained.

Of course, we are abiding by these restrictions and self-quarantined upon our arrival. Walking only to the grocery store for necessities, we remained in the apartment. Not venturing out further to revisit our town has been difficult, after all – we are back in Italy. In Italy!

We check the website of the Italian Ministry of Health every few days to see if there are any changes. We know when there are, our social media friends will be posting any positive updates, and we understand current conditions will remain in effect until the end of April. Stay tuned.

Our 48-Hour Covid Tests | Lucca 2021

After arriving, we found a Farmacia administering Covid testing and booked our appointments for the Tuesday after we arrived – abiding by the regulations – within 48 hours of arriving in Italy. The tests were at a cost of €22,00 each and both of our results were negative. The man administering the tests was wonderful and he spoke a little bit of English. We enjoyed chatting with him while waiting for our results.

Getting Covid test in Lucca, Italy - Lucca 2021

Gary took a quick video of me getting my test. I had expected him to lean over the table to administer the test. When he stood, all I was worried about was him falling forward and the stick going up further! Gary laughed as he said, “Only YOU would think and worry about that!”

Exciting news and announcements for Our Italian Journey in 2020. News you have been waiting to hear;

Special Project

Gary and I are working on a project we will announce shortly. It is about our return to Italy. We wanted to be here to help the Italian people – the small business owners in any capacity we can. The apartment we are renting has been emptied for over a year. We know Riccardo and his family appreciate us being here. The butcher shop, macelleria, has already enjoyed two visits from us. We will return and become regular visitors as even their prepared food is delicious. The grocery store, Conad, has begun to recognize us. Probably because we are the “Americans” paying with a credit card!

We Invite You

Please visit and follow our social media as we will share photos of our daily life here in Lucca. Once we can travel the country again, you know we will be posting those photos as well. If you are not a current blog subscriber, please consider doing so. We value our subscribers and never send spam. Once a week you will receive a new blog post in your inbox. You can contact us anytime with questions or if you have an idea for a blog post you would like us to consider. We’ve done that in the past and appreciate your ideas and suggestions!

Meanwhile, stay safe and healthy wherever you might be reading this post from. Please share our journey and introduce us to friends and family you think might enjoy our information and photos about Italy. We’d love to have everyone along for the ride!

Feature Posts from Our Italian Journey, the blog -
Lucca 2021 - our return to Italy during a pandemic -


  1. I’m so envious! The apartment looks lovely. I just finished your book. Have you two decide to settle in Lucca for the long-term, or do you still want to assess other some towns?

    1. Thank you Jeff for the comment! The apartment is quite nice and in a great part of town. Thank you also for reading the book – if we could ask you to leave a written review? It helps with our ranking! We do love Lucca but have a few top towns we are looking at this trip. A good train line is a must. We want to either rent long-term or purchase. Haven’t quite decided on that part yet. Stay tuned – and thanks again!

  2. Your apartment is huge! Glad to hear you also love Arezzo-I spent a lot of time there a while back attending language school two different times. It’s one of my favorite towns.

    1. This is the largest apartment we have ever have rented in Italy. Hope we get people to use the spare bedroom and bath! Travel is starting to open, thanks – we are excited. Thanks so much for commenting on the post! Stay well.

  3. There are a good number of English-speaking expats in Lucca (including my husband and I). If you want to connect with any of them, search on Facebook for groups called “English Mondays in Lucca”, “Lost in Lucca”, or “Friends in Lucca”. It is a wonderful town to live in!

    1. JoAn – you made my day! I just joined the groups and would love to meet you both! Thank you so much for commenting and providing this great information!!

  4. Thank you for your wonderful post about Lucca – it is my favorite place in Italy! We frequented Bar Astra for breakfast when we have stayed in Lucca as our apartment was not far from where you are located.

    1. Thank you Angelo for the comment. We will have to check out Bar Astra. Looking for a long-term home here. When you return to Lucca we should all meet for cafe!

  5. Good morning from New Zealand.
    Reliving my Italian adventure as I read your blog and your book of which I’m 40% through.
    Amazing apartment, so spacious.

    1. How amazing Helen – New Zealand! Wonderful! So happy you found us. A very nice compliment about reliving your Italian adventure through our book and blog. Please consider leaving a written review for the book – it is so important for ranking! Thank you for the comment and please keep in touch!!

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You might also enjoy: