Bar Italia reopens

Bar Italia in Ponte a Serraglio has been closed for extensive renovations. I can happily report that it will reopen this Saturday, 24th March.

There will be opening celebrations from 5.00pm. I hope everyone will come along to wish Annalisa and her team the best for the new start.

Bar Italia

This an old photo. There will lots more of the new bar after the opening.

Ineke’s Mitten

Our area is now so quiet and peaceful it is difficult to think that it was once heavily involved in the battles of WWII. The Gothic Line was a German defensive line built from Pisa to Rimini and it went through the northern Apennine Mountains around Bagni di Lucca. There is still evidence today of the fortifications built in the area.

Charles McNamara has written a novel, Ineke’s Mitten, about two friends, Norwegian Nels Torkle and Italian Alberto Bisio, who are sent towards the end of the war to fight near Lucca, Bisio’s home town.

The novel tell how two men, forced to hide in America from the Germans during WWII join the Tenth Mountain Division and are sent to train in the mountains of Colorado. Finally, not long before the end of the war, they are sent into combat in Europe.

In early 1945 the division is sent to Lucca in a desperate attempt to dislodge the Germans from their mountain strongholds. The commanders rely on the two friends to find an attack route up a dangerous cliff called Riva Ridge. Because of their efforts, the Germans are sent fleeing from their final stronghold in Europe.

I think it is always interesting to read about events that take place in a familiar area. I’m sure Charles’ book brings to life a very difficult time in our beautiful mountains.

Ineke's Mitten

Goats on the move

One of the things I really enjoy about Bagni di Lucca is occasionally coming across traditional farming activities.

In the area behind Montefegatesi on the way to Orrido di Botri it is not unusual to come across a large herd of goats, with the occasional sheep, being brought in for the evening after a day foraging in the forest.

It doesn’t even matter when the road is taken over for a while.




These goats are milked to make cheese, a labour of love for the couple responsible. I wonder if young people will step up to keep these jobs alive or will they eventually be lost.


Ancient forest

If you drive, or walk, past Montefegatesi on the way to Orrido di Botri you will find yourself in another world. Ancient forests of chestnut, oak and beech trees shrouded in mist seem from another time and place. It wouldn’t have surprised me if a goblin had dashed out from a hollow tree.

Chestnut forest


Chestnut forestChestnut forest

Chestnut forest

Chestnut forest

There are the remains of stone metati, chestnut drying huts, unused for decades.

Chestnut forest

Chestnut forest

Chestnut forest

If only the trees could talk and share their stories of the people who once lived and worked here, hard lives, but at times it must have been a beautiful place to work.

I think the trees look beautiful on a cold winter day, but I will be back in spring to see them again when the green leaves appear.


Omaggio alla Donna 2018

The Casino in Ponte a Serraglio will come alive again this March for the Omaggio alla Donna to coincide with International Women’s Day. For the 6th year there will be a wonderful series of events over 10 days, beginning with the opening celebration on 8th March at 8.30pm.

Omaggio alla Dnna 2018

Celebration of women 2018

Of special interest to English speakers will be the talks given by Australian film maker Karen Buczynski-Lee on the New Media, the New Woman & the Advanced Political Courage, and Dr Jocelynne A. Scott from the UK who will speak about the Struggle for Personhood and the Rights of Woman. They will speak at 5.30pm on 15th March.

Entry to the exhibitions is free and open every day from 4.00pm – 7.00pm.

There is something for everyone here…don’t miss it!