The recent guided walk I joined was to Crasciana and Casabasciana. We concentrated mainly on some of the old churches in the towns. Many are closed so it is a treat to be able to go inside.
We arrived in the pretty piazza in Crasciana Alta.
There are some spectacular views over some of the other villages of Bagni di Lucca and the mountains behind. Even on a hazy day it looks wonderful.
We walked a short distance above the piazza to the first church on our list.
The interior is quite lavish. It seems that several families left the village years ago and became quite wealthy. Some returned and paid for the renovation of the church and other things in the village.
We walked up behind the church for more stunning views.
There is a pretty park, which is looked after by a group of motivated residents.
I visited Crasciana Alta several years ago. Here is the link to see the photos from that trip. Crasciana Alta
Here is a link to Crasciana below. Crasciana
Next stop was Casabasciana to visit the Oratorio Murotto dating from the late 1600s. We were joined by the very knowledgeable Bruno Micheletti, who told about the sites in an interesting and entertaining way.
The tiny oratorio is full of treasures.
There was a little collection of small paintings. It is amazing that some of these things manage to survive.
From here we walked down (the residents must have a bit of mountain goat in their makeup) to the Chiesa di Santa Quirico e Guilitta built in the 18th century on the site of the 16th century oratorio of San Pietro.
Bruno took us to the sacristy behind the altar. One of the original cupboards still exist here. Apparently, they went out of style many years ago and most were pulled apart and sold off.
In front of the altar in a glass case is Saint Primo surrounded by embroidered flowers. Poor little Primo was 4 years old when he was murdered. Every 5 years on the second Sunday of August Casabasciana celebrates the life of Primo when the village lights up and has an evening of fireworks.
The unusual top on the campanile is the only one like it in the area. It was done in the style of the time it was renovated.
This is a link to a very old post I wrote about Casabasciana. It is time to return. Dinner with the huntsmen of Casabasciana
Our last stop was at the Pieve di Sala, built around 918. It was the original church for the area. It is an unadorned late Roman style building and it was a delight to be able to go inside. It was abandoned when churches closer to the villages were built, which is why it hasn’t had a modern makeover.
I was particularly impressed with the stone columns with decorations at the top of each one. There are remains of a old renovation in the form of red and white paint.
The faces fascinate me…who were the models I wonder.
The floor was originally much lower and the font was dug into the floor. It was moved at some stage and half of it has been placed against the wall.
There is an interesting little niche in a wall.
This was originally a window. The sun would enter here first in the morning and shine on the altar.
I visited the beautiful village of Sala a few years ago, see more in the link.Sala
Thank you again to Virgilio and Antonio for showing us these wonderful villages. Antonio made a comment that Virgilio must be centuries old to be able to relate stories with such detail from the past and make it sound as though he was there. He has a gift. Bruno has the same talent.
There are still some walks to go.
My village!!! (Crasciana!), and my stomping grounds. Lots of friends in all of those places! Next time you’re in the neighborhood, (and I’m there too), stop by for a coffee, or a spritz! Thanks for the post. They really help those of us that can’t be there this summer!
I certainly will call in next time you are there!
Thanks for sharing these gorgeous churches and landscapes! You are lucky to be there. 🙂
I know that I am lucky to be here. I am disappointed that I probably won’t be going home any time soon, but I am trying to make the most of my time here. These walks are a great way to learn more about Bagni di Lucca.
I know it must be very hard to not be home. But you are doing a great job enjoying where you are and sharing that with us. Thank you!
What amazing treasures you saw!!
It is amazing what is to be found in these tiny places.
What a great excursion and to be able to get inside the churches and take some photographs is a testament to the guides. Obviously they are well organised.
The walks are great. It is nice to hear some history of these lovely villages.
Thank you for this blog!!
My family is from Bagni di Lucca. My grandfather, Alfredo Contrucci, was born in the mountains in 1937 and moved to the US after WWII.
I am hoping to visit sometime in the next few years, and I am hoping to try to find his childhood home. All I know is that is was a large, multi-generational home of the Contrucci’s/Guerrini’s in the mountains with a fig orchard. I have a photo of where my great-grandparents were married, by a round-shaped church.
Do you have any recommendations on where to look for public records/local history?
Thanks for all you do!
I left a reply on another post.
Whoops—didn’t mean to comment twice (it gave me an error the first time). Thank you!!
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing Debra 🙂