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.
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.
The first public casino in Europe was built in Ponte a Serraglio in 1837. Here is an old postcard of the casino.
The building looks much the same now, but the hotel next door is now a private house.
It is no longer an operating casino and is only open for special events. If you get the chance, go inside to see the beautifully renovated interior.
The annual art competition will take place this Sunday 13th July in the grounds of the Villa Fiori at Ponte a Serraglio.
The day will begin at 8.00am. Lunch will be at 12.30 with delicious produce from the area. There will be games and painting for children and the competition will be judged at 6.00pm.
It is always a great day. Here are some photos from past years.
Don’t miss Colori e Saperi..head off to Villa Fiori to watch the artists at work and have some summer fun in Ponte a Serraglio.
Meet Belinda, the face behind Home of Artisans, a market place for beautiful handcrafted objects for your home.
Belinda has created a pop-up shop in Ponte a Serraglio in conjunction with the Bagni di Lucca Art Festival which opened with a bang on 4th July.
Along with the artists taking part in the festival, the pop-up shop is in one of the resurrected shops at Ponte a Serraglio. It is wonderful to see the area come to life.
Take a look at some of the work of the artisans that Belinda has sourced from all over the world.
The opening night celebrations were a great success.
Belinda closes her shop after a busy and successful day.
The pop-up shop will be open for the entire 6 weeks of the festival, plenty of time to visit and find something special for your home.
Take a look at the website for much more information. www.homeofartisans.com
I am back in Australia for a while and missed the fun, but fortunately Francis Pettit was there and I can see his report on his blog…you can too. Take a look here.
The Motogiro Italia (vintage motorbike race) came through Bagni di Lucca on Friday. The original Motogiro began in 1914, with 56 riders, only 18 of whom finished the race. It has changed many times over the years and there have been lots of years when the race didn’t go ahead for several reasons.
It is now distance rally, with time trials over several days and competitors are escorted by Polizia over the 1,000 miles (1,637 kilometres)
There were several Australians in the race, including a couple of regular visitors to Ponte a Serraglio, so lots of Australian flags were raised in their honour.
It was great fun to see the old bikes come through Ponte a Serraglio.
…and even more fun to see our friends arrive…and depart.
The race ended a bit later in the day at Montecatini Terme. I’m sure the riders would have been very happy to get off their bikes for the last time.
La Torre features in the background of many of my photos of Bagni di Lucca. It looks wonderful perched on a hill overlooking Ponte a Serraglio.
La Torre is an agriturismo. It has rooms and apartments where you can stay and a lovely restaurant for everyone.
We had a great time on a warm summer evening at one of the outdoor tables. There is also a cosy place for cold winter nights.
The food was excellent and the service is very friendly.
La Torre is above Fornoli.
Meet one of the delightful owners.