Then and now…Il Paretaio

Above Ponte a Serraglio going towards Colle is an area called Il Paretaio. It was one earliest areas settled in Bagni di Lucca.

It is a delightful walk up from the river, past the Hotel Bernabo, through the archway called dello Spiffero, past the church of San Martino built in 1292, past the decaying residence of the grandduke of Tuscany Leopoldo II of Lorena and up the hill.


At the end of a tree lined road you come to a little square. Last century there was a cafe there.




It was clearly popular.


Now it is a private house.


What a pity. It would be wonderful to walk up there on a summer evening for an aperitivo.

From Il Paretaio it is possible to keep heading uphill to Colle and further on to the park at the top of the hill.



The tiny Cheisina Alpini was built in 1951 to honour the brave Alpini soldiers.


There is also a track leading down from Il Paretaio towards La Villa. The pathway is called Via dell’Amore, Lovers’s Walk. The path is a bit overgrown now, but you can see that it must have been beautiful once. There are stone seats along the way and it is easy to imagine well dressed people strolling on a warm afternoon and enjoying the pretty surroundings.

In spring I will walk with my camera and show you the wild strawberries, mini crocuses and primulas growing beside the track.

32 thoughts on “Then and now…Il Paretaio

  1. The air of very elegant times gone by was something I really tapped into on my visit to BdL. I hope something of those days will come again. There’s so much beauty already but so much potential too.

  2. I have thought of doing that walk but as yet haven’t got around to it! Do you go up the road in the corner to the left of Bar Italia? Still so much to see and do, I will have to return soon.

  3. I looked at that house last time I was there in case it was for sale. It has been extended towards the rear and at the back it has the steepest garden you have ever seen. Lovely spot to live though

  4. Thank you Debra for mentioning
    l Paretaio! The house belongs to Valeria Fortini. She lives in Lucca and we rent the house for almost 20 years during our holidays. It is still a very nice place to be but Valeria doesn’t want to rent it for holidays anymore. She only rents it for a longer time.

  5. I’ll look forward to our spring walk along the Via dell’Amore – I love seeing ‘domesticated’ plants growing wild. What a pity the local gardeners don’t get a club together to keep it pruned and weeded so it’s welcoming for everybody all year round. It sure is a beautiful place. 🙂

    • The Comune has cleaned the path a bit, but a volunteer group is a great idea. There is a lovely old man who seems to take care of the park at the top. I often see him up there cutting wood and cleaning up. Volunteering doesn’t seem to happen much from what I can see.

  6. That looks like a really good walk, and I bet the views are good too?
    Nice to see the history of Bagni. The Cafe was clearly popular.

  7. A favourite walk of ours too. Just to clarify for those wanting to do it, from Il Paretaio you take the lane down towards Ville. At the first bend of the lane, on the right, there are two paths. Take the left hand path. You might note that just before you come into town (the old part, by the spa) the house owner on the left has one of the tidiest, best managed (in a traditional way) vineyard/garden you are likely to see in Bagni Di Lucca. It is about a two hour circular stroll from, and back to, Bar Italia if that is your starting point. According to our neighbours a good proportion of the now middle aged local population was, shall we say, planned along the route. Take care!

  8. The “Cafe” was closed in the late ’50s, it was a creation of zio Archimede (uncle Archimede) he returned from Germany in the very early 1900. The original buidling was just the front of the house, the cafe, and 2 small rooms at the rear. It officially opened to the public in september 1912, I have somewhere the first day of business invoice and list of guests! The story I always heard is when my great great uncle had some spare cash he added a room to the building, some said to him if he was adding a carriage to the train! Also I’ve been told one of the regular customer was Giacomo Puccini, he was an heavy smoker and a very good drinker… I will ask my mum to give me a more complete history of the early phases of il Paretaio.

      • I will do it. I will be in Lucca this late July and I will also take some picture of early blue-prints of the “Café”

      • That would be very nice!! Me and my husband have such good memories at Il Paretaio and both your parents. I still remember your mother calling your father her personal encyclopedia!

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