Villa Aurora is in the most beautiful setting. There is an amazing view of Prato Fiorito and Pieve di Controne. On a fine sunny day it is great to sit outside on the spacious terrace. The owner proudly served us some of the most delicious prosciutto I have ever eaten. Their pasta is great. My friend Carla had the saltimbocca. Agostino and I enjoyed the perfectly cooked trout. I believe the pizzas are good here too…next time. Villa Aurora…Fabbriche di Casabasciana. From the SS12, follow the signs towards Casabasciana. The restaurant is not far along the road. Phone…(39) 0583 85600
Autumn is a time for festivals in our area. Many villages celebrate the season with festivals honouring the local produce. I recently attended the Festa della Zucca (pumpkin festival) in Piegaia, not far from Bagni di Lucca.
There were pumpkins in all shapes and sizes.
Delicious food was available. We chose penne with pumpkin and creme brûlée with pumpkin.
It is great to see these festival well attended by people of all ages. Everyone joins in and has a great time. I went with Heather from Sapori e Saperi. She knows all the best places to go.
The annual chestnut festival is to be held at Ponte a Serraglio in the park beside Villa Fiori on Sunday 19th October.
Here are some photos from past events. There will be chestnuts roasting, necci to eat, activities for the children and things to buy.
If the weather is bad it will be held the following Sunday.
Cembroni is a little hamlet that is part of San Cassiano. Take the road from La Villa and follow the signs for San Cassiano. Just before the town you will see the sign for Cembroni on the left.
The drive up along the tree lined roads is quite lovely.
Cembroni is tiny. There is a little tangle of narrow steeets, stone houses, leafy lanes and gardens.
On a quiet sunny day I met some lazy kitty cats.
Instead of the usual green doors, I found mostly brown ones. I did manage to track down a couple of green ones.
The last flowers and fruits of summer put on a fine show.
I was most impressed by the collection of chimneys and roof tiles.
I would like to take this old railing home and install it on my balcony.
Of course the views from Cembroni are excellent.
Just a handful of families live permanently now in the village. In summer the population swells when ex-residents return to enjoy the peace and quiet in the summer sun. If you are seeking a tranquil refuge from the world, perhaps you should head to Cembroni.
Trattoria Bonini is to be found along the old pilgrim road to Castelnuovo at Monteperpoli. The place has been in the same family for a very long time, and it became their main activity from the 1950s.
The interior is very charming and there are shady outdoor tables.
Bonini is well known for its good food, especially mushrooms gathered in the area. In the 1990s the family decided to upgrade the restaurant and have sought to provide quality meals using the best produce. They do an excellent workmans’ lunch, but I really like their A la Carte Menu.
I have been a couple of times, and intend to return to work my way through the menu.
My primo piatto of anchovies was delicious…served with buttered bread and sweet peppers.
On another visit I had the porcini mushrooms with fried polenta.
The trout with pistachio sauce and fried asparagus was excellent.
I had seen the ravioli stuffed with burrata on a previous visit, so I had to try that. The photo was taken outside under a coloured umbrella, which has reflected on the ravioli, giving it an unnatural colour. I can assure you, it was heavenly and may become a regular choice.
My ricotta and pear tart was light and delicate…and absolutely wonderful.
Trattoria Bonini has been voted the best restaurant in the area by many and I am not surprised.
Via Monteperpoli 147.
Phone (39) 0583 639425
The Ponte della Maddalena is the most recognisable structure in our area. It is a 900 year old treasure.
It is possible to see in this photo some of the build up of debris on the buttresses of the bridge. We have had lots of rain over the last 12 months and the river has been carrying lots of rubbish along with it and quite a bit has gathered around the base of the bridge.
Finally, the clean up has begun. The river has been diverted and the tree branches and other bits and pieces are being removed.
It is good to see the Ponte della Maddalena being looked after. I never tire of looking at this amazing bridge every time I pass. I often stop and walk across and enjoy the view from the top as well. Let’s hope it is here for another 900 years.
Francis has written about the clean up too on his blog. Click here to see his report.
Summer in Bagni di Lucca has been unusually cool and wet. The crazy weather continues. One day it is warm and sunny.
The river is calm and low.
Then we get driving rain and storms and the river turns into a raging torrent, much more likely in winter.
There was a huge hail storm in Florence the other day that left the streets looking as though they were covered with snow…crazy stuff.
What will autumn and winter bring?