About the blog

I am an Australian who spends half of the year in Bagni di Lucca. We have an apartment in Ponte a Serraglio, one of the 3 villages on the Lima River.

I started the blog to share our lovely village with the world. Bagni di Lucca is a collection of about 25 villages dotted along the Lima and  in the mountains on either side. I have visited all of them and you can find a list of the villages and posts about them in “The Villages”. The tag is at the top of the page.

I am happy to answer questions about Bagni di Lucca. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I will try to help with enquiries. I don’t receive payment for writing the blog and I don’t accept commissions from any businesses I write about.

For a few suggestions on what to do in Bagni di Lucca click here to see a post I wrote on making the most of your visit. If you go back through the archives you will find lots of information about the villages.

Please email me at debrakolkka@gmail.com if you have specific questions.

When I am in Bagni di Lucca I am usually at Bar Italia in Ponte a Serraglio in the mornings for one of Annalisa’s delicious pastries and a cappuccino. Say Buongiorno if you see me.

Debra Kolkka

65 thoughts on “About the blog

  1. Hello Debra
    I subscribed to both your Bagni di Lucca blogs a couple of years ago and as I’ve become slightly besotted with the place, really enjoy reading the posts. I’ll be visiting again in October for the umpteenth time but wonder if you can help with one thing – I don’t seem to be able to find out in advance if there are any ‘events’ in or around the area – and thought you might know of some site that I’ve missed? Once we happened upon a visiting opera company doing Madam Butterfly in the little theatre which was really wonderful; Another time there was a medieval gathering in Villa Ada and if it wasn’t for the booming canon fire I would have missed tasting the most delicious chestnut pancakes with fresh ricotta – Plus the fun and games being had by lords and ladies in their fine costumes!
    I’ll keep an eye out and say hello if you’re around at the time.
    All the best for now
    Mary Clare Walsh

  2. Well, you certainly look to be a friendly sort! I started following your blog because of a family connection to a small mountain villiage near Bagni di Lucca. Before my dad died, he had the good fortune to meet up via internet with a woman whose husband’s family was from the next mountain village up the mountain from dad’s family (not sure any family remains there – but they resided there at some point). This woman provided an immense amount of info about the village and dad’s family’s home – lots of pics and info from church records. What a sweetheart she was and how my dad enjoyed the correspondence. Your blog is a very nice slice of sweetness in a world recently diminished by my father’s death. Keep up the enjoyable blog posts. I really enjoy the photos. Cheers!

  3. Hello Debra,
    We will have our wedding in Bagni di Lucca this summer and we introducing your blog to our guest so they can be familiar with the place. 🙂

    Thank you very much for your blog!

  4. My husband and I are thinking of buying an apartment / house for sale in Calavorno. I would love to chat with you more about the area. I am an artist and I love the villages of Bagni Di lucca. We have brought artists from the United States to paint in Bennabio. Please let me now if you have time to talk to me. Thank you!!

  5. I received your details from a link from international living Australia. We are about 5yeats away from retirement and I am aching to look at the possibility of more travel and living as a local in places such as Italy and France. I worked in these countries in my 20’s and had such happy times living amongst locals. I would love to return and reconnect with the language and culture. Can you tell me if you think it would be worth subscribing to the international living magazine. I am encouraged by your blog and interested to hear how you managed to realise your dream to live partly in Italy . Regards Elaine

    • I think there is lots of good information in International Living. They cover. lots of topics about living in other countries. Good luck with your future travels.

    • The photos are most likely from Bugnano, the abandoned village. Go to the top of the page and you will see “Villages”. Click this and all the villages are listed. Click “Bugnano” and you will see the post I have written about it,

  6. Congratulion, its a wonderful blog about Bagni di Lucca. I have found a lot of interesting information and you have helped me once. Today I have another cuestion, maybe you can help me again. I have see one image at the Internet and I think it isnt very far from Bagni di Luca.


    Do you kno where it could be. The park of alpi apuane is very big and I am not sure where is the person at the statue? Thanks y lot and greetings from Germany

  7. Hi Debra..My wife and I know the area very well. Her family originate from Chifenti…some being buried in the local graveyard…The family name is LENA and they owned a property on the immediate right, after the junction for Barga, heading North on via del Brennero..Prior to the house, there is a large empty ‘parking’ area. The house has since been sold and appears to be in excellent condition…Would love to return to the area, given the chance.

      • Doubtful, Debra….Ponte a Moriano had two eateries during our visits to Chifenti……1.’Tavola Calda’,(No longer there) and the ‘Ristoranti Erasmo’. Don’t know if the Erasmo still operates ??

  8. No doubt, you will be aware of our favourite ‘ice-cream’ parlour…”Gelateria Veneta –
    Via Vittorio Veneto, 74″….Best selection of gelati in all of Italy….Biased opinion, of course !!

    • I have had ice cream there. We now have an excellent gelateria in Fornoli/Chifenti. I will write a post on it soon. There are at least 20 gekatetias in Lucca now. Every time a shop closes a gelateria or cafe opens.

    • I am not sure of festivals at this stage, but there is a food market in La Villa every Wednesday anwd Saturday morning and in Fornoli on Tuesday and Friday.
      If you go through the archives there is a lot of information on what to see in the 25 villages that make up Bagni di Lucca.
      At the top of the page you will see Villages. Click that to find a link to all of the village I have visited. There is also Eat. Click that to find restaurants in the area.
      I will try to send you a link to a post I wrote about suggestions for a visit to Bagni di Lucca.
      I arrive on 25th September too. I am at Il Monaco in Ponte a Serraglio most mornings. I might see you there for a coffee.

  9. Hi Debra,

    my name is Alba and i have lived in Melbourne for 11 years. I came back to my home town Lucca in the mid ’90s and I run a B&B in the hart of the old city and holiday rental business managing many apartments in the Lucca area and one apartment in Bagni di Lucca. My websites are http://www.apartmentslucca.com and http://www.casa-alba.com

    I give my services to many Australian travellers who are searching for an accommodation in Lucca and his province and I thought of asking you to add my links into your lovely blog.

    Thank you for your attention,

  10. Greetings! I’ve just spent a half hour falling down the rabbit hole on your wonderful blog! Spent an amazing few weeks in Bagni/San Cassiano nearly (gulp!) 20 years ago, visiting with a friend whose mother lives in San Cassiano and father lived in Montefegatesi. The food, the people, the landscape…such an amazing part of Italy, very jealous you get to spend 6 months a year there. We have such fond memories of our time there, hoping one day to get back. I’ll be sure to share your blog far and wide, it’s a great resource. Best wishes, Keith Arsenault

  11. Hi Debra. I’ll be paying a visit to Florence/Vinci/Pistoia next month and after coming across your blog will have to add that Giro dei Colli Termali hike to my boots. I know it’s too late for the organised one but that doesn’t matter, I just like to wander. Your photography is superb, a great eye for detail. A question, would you happen to know if the English author, Prof. Charles Nicholl, lives in that area?

      • Thanks for that rapid reply, Debra. Charles Nicholl wrote “Leonardo da Vinci – The Flights of the Mind”, a best-seller. He now lives with his family in Lucchesia. But, no worries, I will do some research when I get there. I’ll have 2 weeks. Thanks again.

      • I have certainly heard of the book. I hope you find some information about the author. Vinci is a great town. You can visit the house Leonardo is said to have lived in, and the museum is excellent. Pistoia is a fabulous town, one of my favourites in the area. I have written a few posts on it, as well as one on Vinci. If you type Vinci and Pistoia in the search box on my blog Bagni di Lucca and Beyond you will find them.

  12. Hello Debra,
    Loved your latest post about the caves. I hope you don’t mind, but I will be reblogging tomorrow on my Conversational Italian! post under “Your Italian Travel Tips” I will put in an intro about what you have written about yourself and Bagni di Lucca, of course. Hope to visit one day and have coffe with you at the caffè you love!

  13. Hello Debra!

    My husband and I are a couple of Americans who are looking to retire to Italy. Bagni di Lucca looks so lovely to us, and we’ve sure enjoyed your blog!

    Lately, we’ve been reading a lot of information regarding mosquitos in Italy. Just wondering if there’s much of a problem in this area?

    Also, since we’re so tired of all of the driving we do in the states, we’re looking for an area that will offer plenty of amenities within walking distance, along with convenient access to public transportation. Would any of the villages here be considered walkable for someone who doesn’t want to drive?

    Thanks so much for all of your helpful information!

  14. Hello Debra
    I fell across your blog while researching the area. We are staying near Lucca for one week from 1 June this year and I really would like to come up to the Bagni area to explore. It has all the ingredients we love and obviously some wonderful people live there (if only part-time). I know we will be back to explore more fully by ourselves. We are with family this time and slightly restricted with an 86 and a 3 year old in the party and so many lovely things to see. This is just the beginning and we might see you around when we are there.

    • Hi Ros,
      We will be here in early June. I am often at Bar Italia for coffee in the morning. Our apartment is directly opposite, beside the bridge. We have a tiny balcony that sits over the river. I hope we run into each other.

      • Well, you never know but we will certainly try and we will wave at the little balcony anyway. 👋
        The apple creation looks delicious especially. 😋
        You are very welcome if you are ever in the Highlands of Scotland at any time. We have Australia on our tick list in the future too (doing our best to find the time to start our travelling life…).

      • Hi ~Debra
        As you have gathered, we didn’t make a meet up. We did have an unfortunate incident at our villa on the second night when we were broken into and jewellery, money and electronics were stolen. A very professional job and the police suspect eastern European influences but who knows. The villa is only 4m from Lucca but isolated. It is the first time this type of thing has happened on this side of the valley. Shame, but we did not allow it to spoil the rest of our holiday or our opinion of Lucca and surrounds. We continued and made the most of things.
        We are back home now and dealing with insurance etc. Work is busy – of course!
        I hope everything is going well for you and perhaps we might have that coffee and chat in the future some time. Maybe even in Oz.

        All the best
        Ros Thompson

      • How awful that you were robbed! I had my wallet stolen in early March and the business of replacing everything is time consuming and annoying.
        I’m pleased you didn’t let it spoil your trip, these things happen!
        I hope we get to share a coffee somewhere, sometime.

      • Yes indeed Debra and thanks for your comment. I hope you are all sorted out too – it was just our turn in the scheme of things. This coffee and chat will surely happen somehow, somewhere. We are taking September off for ourselves to take the ferry to Rotterdam and drive through France to our friends near Beziers for a few days catch up and then nip past the mountains into northern Spain for some exploring and as much walking as we can fit in.
        We are still sorting out the insurance details for Lucca but hopefully will be able to have that out of the way for our trip.
        Best wishes and keep well – Ros X X X X X

  15. Sorting things out after a robbery is always a pain. I will be back in Italy in late September for a couple of months. I love autumn in our mountains. Your trip sounds great, I hope everything goes well this time.

    • Hi Debra
      Yes – as you know, but we are getting there and moving on and looking upwards and outwards. There are so many lovely people out there too (many more). We are really looking forward to our Pyrenees exploration but of course will always be back in Italy. right – off to research the walking trails and medieval villages and a concert or two maybe……

  16. Pingback: On Retrospect: The People – A Frank Angle

  17. Hi Debra, I haven’t kept up with your blog for some time I came across it while looking for some
    information on the val di La Lima and the Gothic line. My grandmothers house is in Riolo one of the little towns that you have visited. Keep up the Blog as it is brings back so many memories of trips to that area. My maternal grandmother’s side Gianinni are from Cutigliano about 12 kilometers up rt 12
    also a lovely hamlet.

  18. Hi Debra
    A few years ago now you helped us search for our ancestor Captain John Martin Hanchett’s grave in the English Cemetery at Bagni. No luck but a photo of one that could have possibly been his. Sword/helmet on grave – I’m wondering if you know if that is one of the graves that has been restored?
    Also who we would contact to get a list of those buried in the Cemetery as we now believe that his second wife Anne may also be buried there.
    I hope that you are safe and well either in Italy or Australia at the present time.
    Kindest Regards
    Deanne and Tony Hanchant-Nichols

    • Because of the lockdown I can’t visit the cemetery now. I don’t know if this grave has been restored. I believe there is a list of burials in the library in Bagni di Lucca (La Villa)
      I am safe at our house in the mountains near Bagni di Lucca now. You can follow lockdown at Casa Debbio on my other blog Bagni di Lucca and Beyond.
      I hope all is OK with you.

  19. Hi Debra, my wife and I own a property nearby as a holiday home and I am wondering if you can assist with your local knowledge. We’re looking to find a shop that sells Effeuno pizza ovens, I don’t suppose you could point me in the right direction for locating a place that does please.
    Thank you hope you can help.
    Regards Steve

    • I don’t know for sure where you can buy this particular brand, but you could try Alberigi in Fornoli, Pieroni in Deicimo or Fratelli Puppa in Gallicano. If they don’t have them perhaps they could suggest somewhere.

  20. Hi Debra
    Thank you for getting back to me.
    I am not too fluent in navigating these site.
    I will poke around and find my way to you blog
    Grazie mille

  21. ciao debby, come stai? spero ti abbiano sistemato bene la caviglia e che tu possa ritornre presto in perfetta forma. Tanti auguri di buona pasqua.

  22. We are looking to buy in Bagni di Lucca(ponte a serraglio), we recently viewed an apartment in a building, it’s the only one occupied, people own the rest but don’t live in them, probably inheritance. We know about buying, we have Italian Citizenship – so not asking about any of that.
    Can you tell me what you think of this area, town, etc. it looks peaceful and beautiful. Our 24 yr old daughter will live there more than we will. For us it will be for holidays. Is it safe? Are there many shops, cafes, restaurants? With all the water around is it mildew/moldy?
    We would love to hear from those who bought here. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Yvonne, we bought our apartment in Ponte a Serraglio in 2003. The area is very safe. There are plenty of good local restaurants, shops and supermarkets and weekly markets. It can be a bit damp in winter but we have no problem with mould.

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