My favourite building in Ponte a Serraglio

We almost bought an apartment in this gorgeous building designed by Lucchese architect Giuseppe Pardini. The building was constructed in 1838 and once housed the prestigious Hotel de Russie.


The building has a colourful history. In 1904 – 1905 English writer Louise de la Ramee, better known as Ouida, stayed in the hotel. She is now buried in the English cemetery nearby. Click here to see more on the cemetery.

During WWII the building was occupied by the German army. There is a plaque on the wall beside the street to commemorate the 13 patriots who were imprisoned inside.


There are now 6 apartments here. I particularly love the balcony at the front of the building. The middle one was almost ours.





I would love to see the building renovated …….. but not too much.


27 thoughts on “My favourite building in Ponte a Serraglio

  1. I also love that building; however, it is nowadays enclosed by many other buildings and a busy road. I do not think it will have too many views. On the other hand, your apartment has great views over the river, the bridge and the mountains, which are irreplaceable features. Also, the old building is in urgent need of maintenance… just as you said, not too much but enough to bring back its old splendor. And I would get rid of the ugly aerials!!!

  2. we didi actually buy an apartment in this building, the top front one. It’s a nice feeling, living in a piece of history. Renovation wise, yes it does need some cosmetic work however I fear trying to organise everything and everyone (especially as the building has listed status) will be like herding cats! I’m also pleased to report we do have nice views – up towards the Abetone mountains from the balcony and across the river to the hills beyond the Casino from the bedrooms.

    • I hope those cats get herded one day. The apartment below you, which is the one we wanted to buy had a view as well, but not as good as yours. Lucky you, living in that gorgeous building.

  3. This is lovely. There is a lot of mould that should be taken care off before too much damage is done. It would probably be great with a bit of sandblasting to clean it up. I love all your posts, and plan to visit!

  4. Beautiful building. I suspect pretty much everyone who passes it wonders what its like inside.
    About 12 months ago one of the apartments in the building was up for sale and I wish we’d taken a look if only to satisfy our curiosity. The building reminds me of the ‘flat iron’ building in new york

  5. Your blog, as always, tells and shows more about the area than all the guidebooks put together. I stayed frequently last year at Hotel Corona, almost opposite, and was always fascinated by this building. Thanks also to ex:townie for the inside views. It looks much better kept than the outside – as is usually the case in Italy! I had never heard of Ouida before coming to Bagni di Lucca and then, by coincidence, found a blue plaque to her on a house near where I work in London. I investigated, and wrote a piece about here (

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