Osteria al Ritrovo del Platano

This is a great place to eat not far from Bagni di Lucca, on the way to Castelnuovo. Osteria al Ritrovo del Platano is a Slow Food restaurant at Ponte di Campio. The chef is Mauro Bertolini and he prides himself on providing delicious local food in season…special tastes of the Garfagnana. The food is both traditional and innovative.

I discovered it one wet, cold day on my way to Castelnuovo. The entrance doesn’t really give any idea of what you will find inside. The restaurant is quite large and well set out.



The workman’s lunch is one of the best in the area, and amazing value at 10 euro.


I ordered the pasta arrabbiata, fried trout and peperonata.








I didn’t leave much.


There were some very delicious looking desserts available, but I couldn’t fit anything else in, so I just had a coffee.


I have been back for dinner, which is also excellent. The prices are a little higher, but worth every centesimo.

There is a small parking area on the side of the road on the Gallicano side of the restaurant.


Pieve di Controne

Pieve di Controne is a small village in a beautiful rural setting in the Controneria area. It is 565 metres above sea level and 8 kilometres from the centre of Bagni di Lucca.

From the main road from La Villa towards San Cassiano, take the road through San Gemignano. From there you will drive through a pretty forest for one kilometre until you reach Pieve di Controne.



The parish church is dedicated to San Giovanni Battista. It was previously the church of Santo Stefano which was mentioned in a parchment in 884 AD. It was one of 28 churches founded by San Frediano.


In the 14th century there was a landslide which ruined the entrance, so another was built on the other side. Both facades are visible today, making the church very interesting indeed. It was not open the day I was there. I will return to see the stone font and the organ built in 1773 by Michelangelo Crudelli.

The bell tower was built in the 19th century and has the largest bells in the territory of Bagni di Lucca.

Few people live in Pieve di Controne today. The lucky ones who make it home have some of the best views in the area. There are lovely gardens and areas of cultivation. Come for a walk with me through the village.

I visited Pieve di Controne in late spring. I’m sure it would just as lovely in other seasons, especially autumn when the chestnut trees turn golden…I will be back.

Hands on art at Ponte a Serraglio

In collaboration with Home of Artisans and British artist Carol Newmarch, there was a demonstration of pottery making in Ponte Serraglio as part of the Art Festival. The street was closed and the crowds gathered for a fun and informative display.

The Art Festival is going from strength to strength and it is great to see lots of interest from locals and visitors alike.







Thank you Belinda from Home of Artisans for sharing the photos with us.

I hope you will all drop into Belinda’s gallery to see all of the lovely things created by artists from all over the world.




The Bagni di Lucca Art Festival

The second Bagni di Lucca Art Festival is well underway in Ponte a Serraglio and La Villa. I would love to be there to see it, but I am in Australia for a while. Luckily for us Francis is there to report on the fun.

Go to  From London to Longoio to see the latest from the festival.20140706-082550.jpg


Crasciana is 799 metres above sea level and is about 12 kilometres from La Villa. The winding road to the village takes you through lovely forests. The chestnut forests close to Crasciana are particularly beautiful.

The name Crasciana comes from the Roman colonist Carsius. The town has a long history, beginning around 800 AD. At one time it had a large population and was important strategically in the years of fighting in the area.

It is delightfully sleepy now, a peaceful and beautiful place to visit. We drove up in late spring and the road was lined with wildflowers.

There are some fine old houses and decorations, narrow streets, and a collection of green doors.

A lovely little piazza in the centre of town makes a great place to gather for a chat.

The gardens are well cared for…there are flowers and vegetables growing all over the village.

As with all of the mountain villages, the views are spectacular, even on a hazy day.

We really enjoyed our walk through Crasciana and spoke to a few of the lucky locals who call it home. One resident pointed out that there is a Crasciana Alta…a good reason for another visit.

To reach Crasciana, take the turn off from the SS12 towards Casabasciana and follow the signs to Crasciana.