On Sunday I joined a guided walk to the old houses in Bagno alla Villa, one of the older parts of La Villa, the main village of Bagni di Lucca. It was organised by the Fondazione Culturale Michel de Montaigne.
We began at the English church in Via Evangelina Whipple. To cater for the English community in Bagni di Lucca in the 19th century, in 1839 Carlo Ludovico, Duke of Lucca, granted permission to build the “Palace of the English Nation” as it was called. The building was designed by Giuseppe Pardini. The church is now a wonderful library, which is now closed because of the disruptions caused by Covid 19.
Across the road from the church is a path that takes you up to meet the road going to Bagno alla Villa.
There is a great view of the church from up here.
The view also includes La Villa and behind to San Cassiano.
The first Villa we came to was once the summer home of Elisa Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister. There were no gates in her day. People preferred there gardens to be open.
We walked on to Villa Mansi, built between 1622 and 1669 by the Mansi family, one of the families of the Lucca aristocracy.
On a wall beside the above entrance is what is believed to be an original Della Robbia. It is in excellent condition.
The next house is lovely.
Further on is the house where Montaigne stayed in the summer of 1571.
The highlight of the visit for me was being able to go inside the Terme
The baths have been closed for many years. It is a great pity that these wonderful establishments have not been able to be opened and used. They could be an asset to Bagni di Lucca.
Above the Terme we came to Villa Web, where Lord Byron stayed in 1822. The house is sometimes open for events and it is full of wonderful things from Bagni di Lucca’s past.
Beside it is the house where his friend Percy Shelley stayed.
From this level there is an excellent view of the top of the Terme. These structures were added to bring light and ventilation to the baths.
We walked back down towards Via Evangelina Whipple.
I particularly liked this little garden corner.
We came to the stables for the villas, now apartments.
Through the gates beside the stables is Villa Ada, which we didn’t visit. Here are photos I took a few years ago. This is another house begging to be restored and put to good use.
I am really enjoying these walks in Bagni di Lucca. Thank you to the organisers.
Oh, thanks for sharing these images of this delightful place….very Tuscan Italian
Bagni di Lucca has many surprises.
Thank you, Debra for bringing these images of home to all of us who can’t be there!
The walks have been great fun.
Outstanding walk. As always, wonderful sites that warm my heart.
Thank you. The walks are a great way to see different parts of Bagni di Lucca.
Great to see inside the baths and to be reminded of the lovely houses in La Villa. I hope these walks continue until I can visit again.
I am not usually here in summer, perhaps they happen every year.
As well as you know the village is it lovely to have the opportunity so visit inside some of these gorgeous buildings. Hope the walks are proving successful and they continue to find interesting places for you to visit and then show us.
The walks are well patronised and I hope they continue!
Hallo Debra, all the years that I have lived in Bagni di Lucca I’ve given myself eye strain trying to get a glimpse of the Terme interior. Your wonderful photographs show me something I did not expect to see, the tiles, marble and architecture are fabulous, one can almost hear the sound of splashing water. I guess the acoustics inside are quite something too (I can imagine Pavarotti singing inside “Una Furtiva Lacrima”), I’ll just have to stick to singing in my shower instead.
I was delighted to be able to go inside the Terme. Like you, I have been trying to peer in for years. The water was running into one of the deep baths. I would dearly love to see these baths restored and functioning.