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.

A fun day in Fornoli

Fornoli put on a great show today for Carneval. It was a day for the children to take centre stage…with the help of their teachers and parents. 6 local school teams paraded in their costumes. The theme this year was food.

It was a glorious day. Winter sun shone down on the activities. All the participants gathered in the piazza on the Chifenti side of the Ponte della Catene. There were last minute details to attend to and friends to greet before the parade started. The band practised and the children lined up in their groupsCarneval Fornoli

Carneval Fornoli

Carneval Fornoli

Carneval Fornoli

Carneval Fornoli

Soon they were off for the short walk to Piazza Aldo Moro in Fornoli where the judging of the contestants took place.

Carneval Fornoli

Carneval Fornoli

It was too much for some.

Carneval Fornoli

The contestants were welcomed onto the stage for the judging

Eventually the winners were chosen. The children from Borgo a Mozzano came third.

Carneval Fornoli

San Cassiano took second place.

Carneval Fornoli

Fabbriche di Casabasciana won first prize to much cheering.

Carneval Fornoli

I think they were all winners. Clearly everyone put in a great effort to make the day a success. Congratulations to all.

A special thank you to Marco Nicoli for his hard work and commitment.

Carneval Fornoli

Everyone spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the food and craft stalls and other fun and games.