About Bagni di Lucca

Bagni di Lucca is a collection of 25 villages in the Lima Valley in Northern Tuscany. It has been called Bagni di Lucca since 1862. The commercial centre, and home of the comune, is La Villa, which sits beside the Lima River.

Pretty Ponte A Serraglio is one kilometre down river. The first casino built in Europe is here.

The railway station is at Fornoli, one kilometre further down river towards Lucca.

Ponte a Serraglio

As well as these 3 hamlets there are many others dotted throughout the hillsides, including Benabbio, Lugliano, Casabasciana, Granaiola, about 25 in total.

Bagni di Lucca has been known for its thermal springs since Etruscan and Roman times. In fact, the name means “Baths of Lucca”.  In 1101 the Countess Matilda had the nearby Ponte della Maddelena built so that she could more easily reach the health giving waters.

Ponte della Maddelena

Since Lucca unified the area in 1308 and transormed it into a spa oasis it has been visited by people all over to ‘take the waters’. Its heyday was the early 1800s, when Napoleon’s sister Elisa Baciocchi, who was princess of Lucca at the time, built the road to the village as she liked to spend her summers there.

A casino was built and Bagni di Lucca became popular with foreigners. Writers and artists flocked to the area because of its beauty and climate. Byron and Shelley and the Barrett Brownings were among those who liked to visit.

The area is a great place to visit for some authentic Italian life, where in some cases, things haven’t changed much over the years. It is still possible to see a shepherd with his flock and vegetable gardens lovingly tended, especially in the mountain villages. Take the time to visit the outlying villages…you won’t be disappointed.

the casino at Ponte a Serraglio

When you are in Bagni di Lucca look for an excellent book by 2 local men, Marcello Cherubini and Massimo Betti. It is full of detailed information about where to go, how to get there and what to see, along with some history of the area. You should be able to buy it at the information centre in La Villa and some of the shops and bars.

Recent Posts

A walk in Vico Pancellorum

I joined the first walk of the season in Bagni di Lucca in Vico Pancellorum. A small group, together with our guides, gathered and began our walk at the base of the village near the church. It is covered in scaffolding now…here is a photo I took on an earlier visit in winter.


The campanile is very impressive, as is the back of the church.

We were first taken to an old fountain, now a bit lost in the forest. Vico Pancellorum is well supplied with water, there are fountains all over the village. At one time 1400 people lived here.

 

We walked uphill past lovely old houses with pretty gardens.

 

 

 


We walked past the old Hotel Roma, home of one of three dance halls that once graced the village. It would have been wonderful to see the thriving village full of people dancing the night away.

 

 

 

We came to a small square with a war memorial.

From here there were excellent views of the Rocca above Lucchio on a distant mountain.

And Vico Pancellorum from half way up to the top.

 

 

This pretty little terrace caught my attention.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a helpful weather barometer.







The old bishop’s house sits just outside the original wall of the village.

 



Look up the see the old wooden structure under the eaves.

 

Here is the entrance to what was the original village.

The drainage system would have come in handy in the winter storms that hit the area.

This is what is left of one of the tower houses that would have been impressively tall.

Near here is the tiny Chiesina del SS Crocifisso. The tinted windows cast interesting colours inside the church.

Above the altar is the patron saint of pregnant women.

Views across to other Bagni di Lucca villages pop up between houses.

We came upon pretty Piazza San Paolo near the top of Vico Pancellorum. What a great place to sit in the cool shade of the tree, or to admire the view.

Narrow streets are everywhere, some full of flowers.

This colourful garden marked the end of our walk through the village.

All through Vico Pancellorum works of art are to be found on ancient walls and ledges. It is worth a walk through the winding streets just to see these. Here are just some of the delights I spotted along the way.

 

 


There are more great views from the top of the village.

 

We walked down to the bottom of the village on the shady road. We stopped occasionally to pick tiny wild strawberries. I can report that they are delicious.

This is a linen flower growing wild on the side of the road. The stems become the linen thread used to weave the beautiful cloth hand made by local women in the past.

We walked past a waterfall with an interesting fountain beside it.

 

On the way home we visited an old mill beside a stream below the village, now overgrown.



There are several more walks coming up. I recommend that you do at least a couple. Even if you know the area is it a fun thing to do.  I had a great day. Thank you to everyone involved. I will definitely join other walks.

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