Russian prince Nicolai Demidoff donated a hospital to Bagni di Lucca to enable the people of the town to benefit from the thermal waters. It was built in 1825.
He also commissioned the tiny chapel across the stream from the hospital. The Demidoff chapel was designed by Giacomo Marrucci and was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.
There was originally a wooden bridge across to the chapel, but it was destroyed by a flood in 1836. The current stone bridge was built soon after by the son of the prince and designed by Giuseppe Pardini.
The little chapel looks stunning in any season, but particularly when covered with snow.
Here is an early photo of the chapel, before the surrounding trees had grown.
The hospital is now Villagio Globale, a popular place for those wishing to enjoy the thermal waters. You will find Villagio Globale and the chapel in Ponte a Serraglio, on the road towards Granaiola.
La Sosta, near Pescaglia, is a bit of a drive from Bagni di Lucca, but is a great place for Sunday lunch.
The little restaurant is nestled into a pine forest beside a church.
There is an outdoor eating area for sunny days.
We visited on a cool autumn day and chose to sit in the cosy indoor area.
It isn’t a big room and it was soon packed.
The food is great! Porcini mushrooms and pumpkins are in season so it made sense to order some. The pasta below has pumpkin and spicy sausage…delicious.
Scaloppine with porcini mushrooms.
Excellent fried vegetables.
The table next to us ordered a feast.
La Sosta is open through the week for dinner and Sunday lunch. It is in Pascoso,via Pescaglia or Fabbriche di Vallico.
Bar Italia has been the heart of Ponte a Serraglio for decades. It was the first place I went to when I arrived in the village almost 15 years ago. I go there, or to Il Monaco, both belonging to hardworking Annalisa, every day when I am in my apartment. Annalisa is ably helped by her sister Suzanna and her team.
Bar Italia has closed for a little while for renovations. Luckily, Il Monaco will take over until the new bar is ready. I don’t know where I would be without my morning coffee and sfoglia.
There was a send off on the last night of the old bar and friends gathered for the party. I was not there, but others have taken photos to share. Thank you Paola, Paul and Collette.
The plans for the new bar were discussed.
Here is a sneak peek at the new chairs.
Several people chipped in to begin the demolishing of the old bar.
Last to go was the coffee machine.
I hope the lovely lady stays.
I wish Annalisa the very best and look forward to the brand new bar. I will be there for the grand opening. I’m sure there will be another party and everyone will be invited.
I love to see Lucchio clinging to its mountain. Here it is in rain and mist in autumn.
When I return to Bagni di Lucca I will enjoy the stunning winter view. I am hoping for snow.
This looks like fun.
Some of the characters were in costume in the recent Santa parade and they look stunning. It should be a great show.
This year in Bagni di Lucca a wonderful team has created La Casa Di Babbo Natale in Villa Web, the villa famous for its part time resident, Lord Byron. My friend Paola kindly visited to take some photos so that we can all see Santa’s house.
Walk up from La Villa, past the Terme, and up to Villa Web.
Open the front door…
Santa was out, probably discussing travel arrangements with his helpers and getting the toys sorted. His chair was waiting for his return.
Santa’s green helpers were on hand to show Paola around.
Santa’s bedroom looked comfortable and inviting. He needs his rest before the big day.
The fire was alight, waiting for Santa’s return.
The kitchen is looking festive and the table is set ready for Christmas.
There is a desk where children can sit to write letters to Santa. Several years ago we visited Santa’s home in Finland where we saw the post office where their letters arrive. There are more letters from Italian children than from other countries.
Paola took a look a Santa’s list. I’m sure our names will be on it.
Well done to all those who set up Casa di Babbo Natale! Thank you Paola for sharing it with us.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and an excellent 2018.
Don’t miss the Festa della Briciole in Fornoli this Sunday and the Santa walk starting in La Villa.