Welcome new Bar Italia

Bar Italia in Ponte a Serraglio opened this evening. A large crowd of well wishers gathered early and the brand new bar was soon full.

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

Annalisa was there to welcome everyone.

Annalisa Bar Italia

Her helpers were all there too.

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

Of course there was lots of food.

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

…and lots of people.

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

I am delighted that Bar Italia is open again. The piazza has been very quiet without it. I look across the piazza to the bar from my apartment and it has been very sad to see it closed.

Bar Italia

We will be back bright and early tomorrow morning for our first breakfast at Bar Italia.

A new Bar Italia

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

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.

Bar Italia

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.

Bar Italia

The plans for the new bar were discussed.

Bar Italia

Bar Italia

Here is a sneak peek at the new chairs.

Bar Italia

Several people chipped in to begin the demolishing of the old bar.

Last to go was the coffee machine.

Bar Italia

I hope the lovely lady stays.

Bar Italia

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.

 

Home gardens

I love that Bagni di Lucca residents grow things in tiny patches of land. Little plots grow vegetables and fruit and olive trees. Grape vines form fences. I often see thriving gardens on my walks around the villages.

I was happy to meet Rino Pacini who proudly showed me his growing vegetables.

His front yard is also lovingly tended.

Growng basil in a pot is about all I can manage on my tiny balcony at Ponte a Serraglio.

San Cassiano War Memorial

The War Memorial in San Cassiano has been lovingly restored. Too many lives were lost from the area. It is heart breaking to see the list of the names of those who died fighting.

Bands played, crowds came…people of all ages, there were speeches, there was food and there was rain.

I saw the restored monument last week and it is looking great. It is clear that these men will not be forgotten.

I wasn’t there today, as I am now on my way back to Australia for a few months. Thank you to Paul Anthony Davies for allowing me to share his wonderful photos.

An opportunity?

A restaurant has closed in Ponte a Serraglio. Ristorante da Vinicio had been around for ages. When we first came 14 years ago it was busy every night. Here is a photo from back then.

In summer there were tables along the river, giving the little piazza a lovely festive atmosphere.

A death in the family and a serious illness have brought on the closure of the business. It will be missed this summer.

We need a restaurant at Ponte a Serraglio. Bruno’s is great, but one is not enough, particularly in the summer.

I don’t know any details about buying or renting the space, I just know that it needs a new family to take over…anyone out there?

Liberation Day

Giorno della Liberazione or Festa della Resistenza is celebrated in Italy on 25th April. It recognises the end of the Italian Civil War and the end of Nazi occupation of Italy in WWII in April 1945.

The liberation led to a referendum on June 2nd which resulted in the end of the monarchy and the creation of the Italian Republic.

April 25th was designated a national holiday in 1949 by Alcide De Gaspari, the last Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy.

There are celebrations all over Italy to mark the day. There are marching bands, parades and political rallies.

We attended an event in Vergemoli in Garfagnana. It seems difficult to believe that this tiny town with a population of about 100 people was caught up in the conflict, but the most northern of the fortifications the German army built across Italy, the Gothic Line, went right through the area.

Old army vehicles assembled in front of the comune.

Inside there was a collection of old photos. The tiny village saw lots of action and the village itself was bombed.

The photos are by Attilio Viziano.

Here you can see Vergemoli being bombed.

The people in front of this air raid shelter look remarkably cheerful.

Vergemoli

This is a photo of Vergemoli. It is interesting to note that there are no forests around the town as there are today. All the land was cultivated in those days. The hills were planted with wheat, grape vines and vegetables. No doubt this helped the people survive the horrors of war.

I can’t imagine having to live through what these people did. What a pity we don’t seem to learn enough from past conflicts.

A book has been put together by Andrea Giannasi and Moreno Maffucci about the Gothic Line in Garfagnana where these photos and more have been included.

We bought it even though it is in Italian. It will be good practice to try to read it.