Mario Lena, a special Ponte person

Mario Lena, poet at Ponte a Serraglio and remarkable previous Mayor of Bagni di Lucca, recently celebrated entering his 90th year. Maura Bertolozzi and Agostino Rieter organised a marble plaque to be hand carved in Pietrasanta with one of Mario’s poems. It was installed at Il Monaco, where Mario likes to have his breakfast in the morning. Our current Mayor, Dr Massimo Betti, officiated the ceremony to unveil the plaque.

Mario Lena was a respected scientist and teacher as well as a very popular mayor for 10 years from 1960.

Friends of poetry and Mario gathered for the unveiling of the poem.

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Take the time to read the poem next time you are at Il Monaco and say hello if you see him. He is a very friendly and delightful man.

A few days later a second plaque was unveiled at the edge of Agostino’s property, beside a seat, where visitors are invited to rest a while, enjoy the poem and the magnificent view of Mario’s favourite place, Bagni di Lucca.

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Writers from Great Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Holland and Italy have been drawn to Bagni di Lucca for centuries…Byron, Shelley, the Barrett Brownings and many more have spent time in the beautiful villages, no doubt taking inspiration from their surroundings, just like Mario Lena.

Agostino has had the brilliant idea to establish a “Poetry Path” and connect 17 sites around Ponte a Serraglio, Bagni Caldi, Il Paretaio, Bagno alla Villa and La Villa where famous writers lived or visited. People will be invited to walk to the sites, admire the view and read about the writers.

A proposal has been put to the Foundatione Michel de Montaigne and if approval is given, anyone interested in helping to get the idea off the ground will be invited to get involved.

We are hoping the Mayor and the Council of the Comune will give full cooperation. I will keep you up to date with developments.

I think something that encourages locals and visitors alike to walk around the area and appreciate the spectacular scenery and learn something about our literary residents and visitors is a wonderful idea.

25 thoughts on “Mario Lena, a special Ponte person

  1. What a fabulous tribute to Mario Lena and his works. Also congratulations to Agostino and everyone else involved, in not only this tribute, but the notion to create a poets trail. It will be another attraction to this beautiful area.

  2. How very lovely to hold an unveiling for the poem – and if my guess is correct – how lovely to be able to call that place “Il Mio Paese”.

    • Mario is a proud resident of Ponte a Serraglio and we are lucky to have him. I am also happy to call it “my country, or my home town” too, even though I am only a part time resident.

  3. We have known Mario for many years and he is truly a great man and poet. We have most of his poetry collections.
    In case your Italian wasn’t brilliant here is my translation of the first poem mentioned in this post:

    My Town

    In this square
    by the river
    is my town.

    Leaves from trees
    fall
    like the words of men.

    Girls
    stretch their legs
    in the sun’s rectangles
    which tinge the asphalt.

    The river carries in itself
    the long centuries
    of our lives.

    Mario Lena

  4. I appreciate the translation of Mario’s poem – thank you, Francis. Can imagine Mario reading his poem from his heart, with passion. I especially love the last stanza – very true about the Lima River. If only, the river could share its centuries-old stories in the whisperings of the water. Lovely, also, to see Agostino giving his speech in honour of Mario. Thank you, Debra, for sharing this auspicious day – I feel part of the celebrations, even though on the other side of the world.

  5. You mention the seat by his property.
    Where exactly is that? I would love to take a look and take a rest there when I return in October.
    Thank you

    • Take the road from Ponte a Serraglio towards Bagni Caldi (where the terme is), go past Bernabo Hotel and follow the road around the sharp bend. Walk on to the next bend and you will see a road leading off the main road. Follow that until you come to the seat, which is on your left.

  6. Paul printed the poems as a dolce for one of my italian get-togethers. Nice, to try and translate it in something flowing in English.
    And then I read Francis’ PROPER translation, ah well, we live and learn. Thanks Debra!
    And Francis

  7. Hi Debra, It was lovely to see you again in Ponte a few weeks ago. Thank you so much for your very informative blog. I am especially interested in the proposal for a ‘Poetry Path’ and would welcome being kept up to date with developments . I have a great interest in this since I teach art history as well as the subject area of famous nineteenth and twentieth century Anglo-Americains in Tuscany .I have included writers and poets in Bagni in my teaching .

    Best Wishes
    Dawn and Richard ( Granaiola)

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