Bugnano, the abandoned village in Bagni di Lucca

Bugnano is a tiny collection of completely abandoned houses, just outside the village of Riolo. There is no sign to the village, just an overgrown track at a bend in the road.



I have heard that the village was abandoned after WWII when the residents went off in search of a better life. A few years ago an English company planned to restore it and turn it into holiday accommodation, but their plans came to nothing. It may be too far gone now to do anything. The forest is taking over.









It is quite sad to see these ruined houses. Somebody once loved them. Some touches of home remain.



One house must have been very grand in its day.






The kitchen sink is still there.


And the place where the fireplace would have been.


What must have been the living room has some frescoes remaining.




The front room has great views over the mountains.



Soon the forest may take over completely.



Even the mushrooms growing near the big house look dark and sinister.


Somebody has camped in one of the houses recently.


Do you know anyone with lots of money and some imagination? Wouldn’t it be great to see the village live again?

Teri Giannetti has kindly sent some extra photos of Bugnano.


46 thoughts on “Bugnano, the abandoned village in Bagni di Lucca

  1. I have been hoping for that for many years. There actually were some residents living there when rumors of the grand plans for a resort started flying. The few remaining residents were bought out by the company who eventually realized the inpractical nature of their endeavor. Sad that they didn’t think in a less grandiose way and just set about restoring what was once a charming a medieval village. Perhaps a visionary with tons of cash will come along one day?

      • Dear Ms. Kolkka,
        I believe my father (who I never saw since three years old) left a home in Bugnano. I want to research this since I would inherit….I am an only child. Wouldn’t that be wonderful if I could get “the village started” again in my retirement age.
        Hope to hear from you.
        Teri Giannetti

      • You should start with the comune in Bagni di Lucca. The village was sold some time ago to a company who did nothing with it, so I don’t know how that would affect you. It would be great to see the village live again. I didn’t see all of it as I was unaware of the size of the village. I will go back early next year to find the rest of the buildings.

      • Thank you much for your ideas. I have family there and hope to visit next year. I will check things out and let you know if anything every becomes of it.
        Love what you are doing!!!!

  2. My family used to live there before I was born and my sister in law family lived there, her father was the last person to leave the pleace in the 70’s. Actually the British company sold ti to a dutch company and they bought the last properties, but it seems to be only on hold……

  3. It is very sad, perhaps ITaly has so many treasures that it is impossible to save them all. I still wish that a project to restore the village will go ahead.

  4. Glad you could make it there Debra. It IS very sad to see Bugnano in its present condition. But, as mentioned above, there are so many deserted villages in Ital,y especially in remote areas of the south where there really IS very little money. The problem is that Tuscany is a relatively well-off area compared with other regions with the highest income from tourism. So if it can’t get together on Bugnano this bodes very badly for other regions. At the same time speculative (and all to often illegal) building is rampant in most parts of Italy. Why new build instead of historic restoration? I would also add that there is a second category of abandoned villages in this area,especially in Garfagnana – that is the “alpeggi” – villages that used to be occupied only in the summer by shepherds grazing their cattle in the high pastures. I have visited several of these practically all only reachable by often long trekking. Some of these villages still have little churches which are well-maintained thanks to still surviving religious feelings. I would hate to think what would happen if these religious feelings disappeared forever for they help to maintain some out-of-the way chapels and shrines even in our area. Incidentally, our present mayor of Bagni di Lucca, Dottor Betti, has set a fine example bybuying up and restoring the abandoned village of pian di Fiume. It is now thriving as a holiday destination and for hosting a variety events from feste to weddings.

  5. This was so interesting. I spent 2 weeks in Riolo this past June and I know the bend in the road well. I’m so sorry I didn’t know to take a walk down the pathway to Bugnano.

  6. I just spent absolutely ages reading your beautiful blog. I haven’t been around Tuscany at all and you just showed me what I am missing out on – I definitely will try to visit Bagni di Lucca the next time I go to Italy.

  7. buonanotte

    Sono dal Brasile e sto cercando di saperne di più della storia dei miei nonni e bisnonni e la mia famiglia in generale.
    Sono venuti in Brasile oara immigrazione e come io conosco sono i Bagni di Lucca, regione Bugnano’ll mettere un po ‘del mio albero che so

    Nonna – Settima Gianneti bernardi
    Bisnonno – Rinaldi Bernardi
    Nonno – Enrico Bernardi

    Mi chiedo se ho ancora parenti e come il blog dice loro residenza devono rimanere tali;
    César Augusto

  8. We have just come back from a short holiday in Riolo, which is a lovely place itself, although it felt a little like a ghost village, becuase there seemed to be only 2-3 houses occupied while we were there. We came upon Bugnano by chance and we were fascinated – it’s a bit like something out of an Indiana Jones film! I think the ruins are very romantic as they are, and exciting because you don’t know if you you might dislodge a wooden beam or a stone and have the whole lot fall on you (in the UK you would not be allowed near it!). Personally I like the ruins of Buganano as they are, but I am happy to see that some houses in Riolo are being restored, so that Riolo will not go the same way. Thank you Debra, we have really enjoyed reading your blog, with best wishes from Joanna and Austin Leask.

    • Just spent over a week in Riolo with my aunt in the home she was born. There were more people when we were there in early September. In fact, there was a festival one Saturday night and 180 came to celebrate..pizza and dessert! Truly glad Riolo is being rejuvenated.
      Bugnano was my father’s village. I went in (yes, you weren’t suppose to….) and took great pics. Someone teach me how to post on this site and I’ll share. Not on FB….Teri Giannetti

      • Hi Teri, I have just been contacted by a guy in Brazil who descends from Giannetti from Bugnano. Perhaps you can help him solve his ancestry questions. Cheers

      • teri, va bene, Io sono nipote italiana e vorrei sapere di più sulla mia famiglia.
        Vorrei sapere se qualcuno può aiutarmi a trovare PERSONE che possono far parte della mia famiglia.
        MIO NONNO E LA SUA FAMIGLIA è venuto fuori per il Brasile MA IMMIGRAZIONE. Metterò il nome di qualche ANZIANI sapere che HA FATTO PARTE DELLA MIA FAMIGLIA albero.

        ADELIA Nicolli Gianetti – MADRE DEL NONO
        Fratelli della Nona
        AMATO Gianetti – CHICAGO
        PRIMA Gianetti
        GUIDO Gianetti

        Il mio Bisa. Settima Gianetti Bernardi
        Il mio Biso Rinaldi Bernardi
        Mio nonno. Enrico Bernardi

        Essi risiedevano a Bagni di Lucca, Se qualcuno è a conoscenza della famiglia o Gianetti Bernardi mi consiglia di tenersi in contatto.
        César Augusto Alves

    • Riolo is a lovely village and there are quite a few people living there. I’m sure it won’t become another Bugnano. Thank you Joanna and Austin for your kind comments.
      Thank you Teri for the extra photos of Bugnano.

  9. Pingback: The villages of Bagni di Lucca | Bella Bagni di Lucca

  10. Pingback: Abandon all Hope all Ye who Enter here? | From London to Longoio (and Lucca and beyond)

  11. Visited about 15 years ago with Giovanni Giambastiani , Peter Donald and Robert McTavish , astounded with the Frescos and the mental picture of what the big house would look like in its prime . ( also seen our first Snake in the grassy surrounds ) remember seeing a number of old properties being renovated at the side of the river !

  12. Wonderful photos. I’ve been to riolo and fully missed the buildings. I wonder if your contributor Terry Giannetti is a relative of mine. My grandfather was Gregorio Giannetti and left for America in 1912. If so, pass on my contact information. Keep up the good work …great article.

  13. Terry may see this comment, I hope so. Some friends went to visit Bugnano a few days ago and found that there has been more disintegration.
    Thank you for your comments. I have been writing the blog for several years now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.