Can you help?

There was a small earthquake in Bagni di Lucca earlier this year. Fortunately nobody was hurt, but there was some structural damage to some of the ancient buildings in the area.

The 16th century church of Madonna della Neve in Guzzano suffered considerable internal damage.




The chapel was completed in 1537. In that year the pre-existing chapel was restored and enlarged to its current size and shape. Inside the chapel are notable works of art, including a statue of the Virgin with Child attributed to Della Robbia.

Claudio Gemignani of Gombereto is heading up an effort to raise funds in Italy to help save the church. Ann Barsi is looking after efforts in the USA where $5,000 has already been raised.

Ann Barsi’s book, “Pieve di Controne – 2012” will be sold at the Gombereto Medieval Festival on 31st August and all the proceeds will be donated to the restoration.

I hope you can all make it to the festival and buy a book to help the church.

Click here to see more on the book.

email Sig. Barsi at for more information on the fundraising efforts.

13 thoughts on “Can you help?

  1. I far prefer the chiesina’s original trussed roof to the much later vaulting put in. I feel that in any restoration the trussed roof should be fully revealed. This would also prevent any further damage. The Pieve di Controni itself has original mediaeval painted trussed beams which were later covered up by nineteenth century vaulting.

    • Yes! The repair plans will leave the original travi (joists) exposed along with the tiles with the diamond designs on them. 5000 euro support from the diocese and from the community has been received, leaving 7000 euro needed to be raised from other sources. Of that, 4200 euro has been contributed by my wonderful American family and friends – many of whom have ancestral ties to Guzzano and the Pieve di Controne. So we still need 2800 euro to meet the estimate repair expense. I’ll be at the Medieval Festival in Gombereto on 31 August, selling books and taking additional donations for the repairs – hope to see you all there.

  2. A worthwhile cause and I would agree with what Francis says. You can also find information on Facebook. Search “Salviamo la chiesa del Poggio di Guzzano”

      • Yes, but it also has lots of churches and buildings that require maintenance and repairs. Normally, a parish church should be maintained by its parishioners. This is why some parishes are being closed, not enough money to go around, particularly when you consider the involvement of the Catholic Church in health -it is acknowledged as the Nr 1 provider of free health services in the world – education, social welfare (through Caritas) and many other services. Also, I would think that under Pope Francis, there will be other priorities.

  3. By the way…. for those of you who are Paypal fans. You can easily contribute to this project via Paypal. In the US, send donations to In Italy or Europe, send donations to Please mark the donation with “Madonna della Neve” and include a mailing address (email or regular) so the church can acknowledge your contribution. Both ways will get your donation to the church. Use “Family and Friend option” to avoid fees.

  4. We are in Bagni di Lucca again for 3 weeks and we are happy to report that enough money has been raised to begin the restoration of the church at Guzzano. The restoration will begin in mid-September. The generous donors in the USA have contributed 5200 euro to the project. Claudio Gemignani has tirelessly brought this project to realization. Thank you Claudio for all your hard work.

    Osvaldo and Ann Barsi

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