Bagno alla Villa

If you walk up from La Villa, the commercial centre of Bagni di Lucca, or down the hill from Colle you will arrive at the quaint little hamlet near Bagno alla Villa, the old thermal spa. Along with Colle and Corsena this is the oldest part of Bagni di Lucca.
The Piazza del Bagno is very pretty and was home to several famous people in the past. The French philosopher Michel de Montaigne stayed here to take the waters in an attempt to cure his kidney stones. The English poets Shelley and Bryon also stayed here. There is a lovely collection of houses here and it is easy to see that it was once very grand.

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The old baths have been recently restored. It would be wonderful if they were open again and the area could once again be a hive of activity.

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Nearby is Villa Ada, the 16th century residence of the De’Nobile family. It was restored on the second half of the 19th century. It would make a wonderful hotel. We just need somebody with lots of money to come along and restore it once again.

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The grounds must have been stunning. There are lovely old stairways and a covered walkway which has become overgrown, such a pity.

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Inside Villa Ada is the pretty little marble statue which has become the symbol of Bagni di Lucca.

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It is an easy walk uphill from La Villa, just head up past the English church and the swimming pool and keep going. It is particularly lovely in spring when it is possible to imagine how grand this area must have once been.
If you know somebody with lots and lots of money, send them along, they might just like to take on a renovation project.

27 thoughts on “Bagno alla Villa

  1. It looks delightful and I will certainly visit. I adore the statue – the symbol of Bagni di Lucca. I’m afraid I don’t know anyone with lots and lots of money!

  2. Hi Deb, you new blog is wonderful, we really enjoy how you are exploring the area that Bagni di Lucca includes, we can’t wait for our next visit – cheers Gordon & Nevola

  3. I absolutely agree, Debra, we need people with a vision and plenty of money to restore the area to its former glory. It is not a matter of competing with Montecattini, they are different marrkets.
    I am currently reading the “Journal de Voyage de Michel de Montaigne en Italie”. I found it on Internet. The chapter on his stay in Bag I is priceless. A bit scatological at times; however, it was meant as a report for his own doctor. There were quite a few new houses at the time in Corsena, which used to rent rooms or full apartments to visitors. There were also plenty of “apothecaries”, so Dr Betti’s had quite a few predecessors. A most interesting document for anyone who is fluent in French.

      • Debra, that’s good news. I like to buy a small momento of my visits these days to place on a table in my dining room. I’m getting a lovely little collection and I hope I can add one of the little statues. Does she have a special name?

  4. I just love the architecture of the Villa , is it a private residence? also love those turrets on the roof of the baths. Wouldn’t is be great to see them open!. Also looking forward to our next visit.
    Cheers Jill

  5. I totally agree with you, Debra. Bagni di Lucca urgently needs someone with money and a vision to restore it back to its former glory and to create opportunities for the younger generations.
    Yesterday, I found on Internet the text for the “Journal du Voyage de Michel de Montaigne en Italie” (the text concerning Bagni is partly in French, partly in Italian as they were spoken back in the 16th Century and you need a fair knowledge of both languages in order to tackle it). It is interesting to read how Bagni had, at the time, more than 40 new dwellings and their owners used to rent rooms or full apartments to visitors (the original B & B!!!!). The text is a bit “scatological”, as it was mainly intended by Montaigne as a report to his doctor regarding hi treatment at the baths. He also mentions that there were lots of “apothecaries” preparing medication for patients, so Dr Betti had a few predecessors many centuries ago.
    There is also an interesting story about the banquet and ball “with prizes” that he offered to the people in town. Veal and poultry were served with plenty of wine, and they all had a great time. We should organize a similar banquet as a yearly event, with everyone dressing in 16th Century costumes…. Just an idea….

  6. Wow, we should send out some messages to some of the film folk, i still know a few, that would be an amazing place to own and possibly use as a location, let alone live there.. and the baths! are they able to be reopened? how wonderful.. c

    • It would make a great location for a film. The baths have been renovated. I believe they were opened and then closed on the same day. There are 3 other baths being renovated at the moment. There is one that is still operating.It has 2 natural steam grottoes, one of which was the personal grotto of Napoleon’s sister.

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