A walk in Cocciglia and Pallegio

On Sunday I joined another of the guided walks to some of the villages that make up Bagni di Lucca. This time the walk took us to Cocciglia and nearby Pallegio.

We began at the bottom of Cocciglia.


First there was a small detour to Ponte Nero, the old bridge that crosses the Lima River at Strette di Cocciglia.

From the bridge you can see the stunning Strette di Cocciglia, a beautiful part of the river,  now the home of Canyon Park adventures.


We were able to see inside the Oratorio di San Rocco, the little church dating from 1532, at the beginning of the bridge.

Then it was back to the path towards Cocciglia. The village was named after a late Roman settler called Caucilius or Cocilius. Along the way we saw some well kept farm plots and this very stylish little shrine.


Just before the path that takes you up the hill to Cocciglia is the Oratorio San Michele, dating from the 13th century, with its well kept cemetery.


Across from the Oratorio is the path to the village. This was the only way to the village before the road was built in the not too distant past.

 




From the path there is a good view of Pallegio, the village we visited next.


Our first stop at the beginning of the village was here.

We walked along a tiny laneway where the wall was covered with caper plants.

Cocciglia is a maze of tiny streets with archways and tunnels, the remnants of old defence gateways into the town. Houses are tucked inside these structures. The doors to keep enemies out are long gone, but you can see where they were.

This wall of a house is ancient. It could tell some stories.

We kept going up towards the parish church dedicated to San Bartolommeo.

Some of the construction is Roman with additions in medieval times.


 

You can see the repairs and additions in this wall at the base of the church.

We arrived at the top of Cocciglia.

In the church is a cross depicting the crucifixion.

From the top we walked down the road to drive to Pallegio. Before the town is the Oratorio di Santa Maria della Quercia, with a stunning interior. These precious churches have to be firmly locked to prevent theft of the treasures inside.




From here we walked down a leafy path to the Ponte Vecchio, the old bridge, part of the ancient path between Cocciglia and Pallegio.

Just past the bridge is a remnant of the Roman path.

On one of the stones is the mark of the man who placed it all those years ago. It is amazing to me that I can stand on a path that has existed for 2000 years or more.

Further up the hill is the tiny town of Pallegio.
Very few people now live in the village and the parish church is now closed. We stopped for refreshments and spoke to some of the friendly people from the town. It would be sad to see these villages become empty. Let’s hope some people come to buy the old houses and bring new life.


 


 

 


On the walk back to the car there were excellent views of Cocciglia and Casoli in the distance.

…a last look at Pallegio.

Once again the walk was great fun and very informative. Thank you to Antonio and Virgilio for sharing their love and knowledge of these beautiful villages. We are so lucky to have these intact, authentic places to explore in Bagni di Lucca.

There are more walks to come.

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.

Summer walks in Bagni di Lucca

Several guided walks to help us learn more about our lovely villages have been organised over the next few weeks.

The first one is tomorrow in Vico Pancellorum. Call 0583 809945 to see if there some places left. Only 10 people at a time can join. The group will gather in front of Circolo dei Forestieri at 9.00am before being taken to the destination.

This is a great initiative. I hope the walks will be well patronised.

Be sure to call for more information or to book a place.

The pool opens Saturday 4th July

Excellent news! Our beautiful pool in Bagni di Lucca opens for the season Saturday 4th July from 9.00am until 19.00. Call 339 2376523 for more information.

This pool is surely in the most stunning position…an excellent asset for Bagni di Lucca.

As well as this good news, free Wifi is now available in many areas in La Villa.

Auser reopening

The excellent shop in Ponte a Serraglio that sells a wonderful selection of second hand household items is open on Saturdays and Sundays…10.00 – 12.00 and 15.00 – 18.00.

Anyone setting up house in the area would to well to drop in and see the beautiful items they have for sale at excellent prices. An added benefit is that the profits are used to help people in need.

There simply must be something you need in this collection.


 

The clothing section of the shop is not open yet, but will happen in the future. 


Auser Is on the road between Ponte a Serraglio and La Villa, not far from Ristorante da Bruno. The Auser Association runs the shop and takes its name from an old name for the Serchio river.

 

 

A rainy night at Villa Aurora

Villa Aurora, the delightful family run restaurant at Fabbriche di Casabasciana, has a beautiful terrace. Unfortunately on the night we visited the rain was pelting down so we ate inside where it was cosy and warm.

 

 


The service at Aurora is very friendly. A young member of the family was very keen to be included…meet Cristian. (Not sure of the spelling of his name)

We began with bresaola and bruschetta.

My friend had the bocconcini di manzo and I enjoyed the saltimbocca.

 


We shared rosemary roast potatoes.

It is difficult to resist pannacotta for dessert.

When the weather is better I will return for an evening on the terrace, one of the loveliest in the area. Now that things are opening up please support your favourite restaurant in Bagni di Lucca.

Villa Aurora…Fabbriche di Casabasciana

349 4316287

0583 85600

La Corona, a new opening

We are very excited at Ponte a Serraglio to see the opening of La Corona, the newly renovated hotel and restaurant.

Perhaps the name is a little unfortunate right now, but the up side it is easy to remember.

We arrived just as heavy rain began. This was a pity as the outside areas of the hotel are lovely. I will show you those on a better day. We gathered in the brand new bar area.

There was delightful entertainment.

We were taken up to the first floor to see some of the rooms of the hotel. There are 15 rooms and they look great. Each room is decorated individually, with well appointed bathrooms. Several rooms have views over the river, with great views and a couple have their own balcony.

 


My good friend Tina and I were the first guests in the beautiful restaurant.

The food was excellent. We began with a selection of Tuscan delights.

We both chose the risotto.

Tina had pork belly with crustaceans.

 

I enjoyed the guinea fowl on a bed of chestnut bread.

La Corona is an excellent addition to Ponte a Seraglio. I wish everyone involved the best and hope they get lots of visitors soon.

There was huge storm last night which began while we were at the restaurant. It settled a bit, but in the middle of the night I was woken by the noise of the river rushing past my window. The water was as high and as turbulent as I have ever seen it. This morning the river had settled a lot, but it was still brown and flowing quickly under the bridge.

Unfortunately the forecast is for another week of stormy weather. I hope the weather bureau is wrong on this.

La Corona…Ponte a Serraglio.

http://www.lacoronabdl.com

Dinner at Ristorante del Sonno

It is excellent to be able to join friends and sit down for dinner at our wonderful restaurants in Bagni di Lucca. Last night a friend and I enjoyed a delicious meal at Ristorante del Sonno in La Villa.
Ilario has made sure there is plenty of distance between tables and there is also outdoor dining. All precautions have been taken to make sure guests are safe.

We began with mussels and bruschetta.

 

Followed by grilled trout, roast potatoes and, for me, a stracchino and prosciutto pizza.



Let’s support our local businesses!

Circolo dei Forestieri is open

Circolo dei Forestieri in La Villa is open!

It is great that things are slowly opening here in Bagni di Lucca. I went with friends for dinner at Circolo dei Forestieri for dinner last night. It is so nice to be with friends and to eat something I didn’t have to cook for myself.

I know there was a happy, smiling face under that mask.

The tables are spread out and left unset until guests arrive. There are lots of outdoor tables as well. I hope the lovely terrace over the river will be open too.

We all ordered similar dishes, so I can’t show you variety, but everything was delicious.

Thank you Circolo for a lovely evening. It is great to see things opening up here in Bagni di Lucca. We need to support our local businesses!