Sewing in Ponte a Serraglio

There is a small shop opposite the wonderful pre-loved emporium in Via Vittorio Emanuele in Ponte a Serraglio. For a small donation you are welcome to have small sewing jobs done, or get some help with your own sewing projects.

The very experienced Latifa is on hand with help and advice and there are sewing machines available for use.

When clothing items are donated to the Auser group some are past being wearable. In some cases the cloth is able to be used along with buttons and zips. The wonderful volunteers collect the usable pieces and put them to use to make new items.

They are making carry bags, other small items. There are also Christmas decorations available right now. Latifa is in the shop on Tuesday and Saturday to tell you all about what is on offer.

Tuesday…9.00 – 11.00

Saturday…15.00 – 17.30

Tractors on the move

I spotted tractors on the move from Fornoli and quickly grabbed my camera and crossed the bridge to wave them on. I’m not sure of the reason behind this event, but I like to think it might be a big thank you to farmers for growing our food. Where would we be without them???

I caught their return from my window.

Thank you farmers!

A treasure nearby

I was invited to visit a beautiful palazzo in Ghivizzano, an ancient village not far from Bagni di Lucca. Palazzo Buonvisi is set into the medieval wall on the edge of the village.

Like all old buildings in the area it has an interesting past. It eventually came into the hands of the Nuti family the 16th century. They changed it from a fortified palace into a hunting lodge. In 1648 through a marriage between the Nuti and Buonvisi families the building doubled in size.

After a time it became a boarding school for girls at the behest of Monsignor Camilli who was born in Ghivizzano. He later became Bishop of Fiesole.

The ownership of the palazzo finally returned to the descendents of the Buonvisi family who have restored the beauty of the building.

After entering the portico into Ghivizzano, to the right is a tunnel on the inside of the wall.

A little further on is the entrance to the Palazzo Buonvisi.

There is a small courtyard in front of the palazzo.

The interior of the house takes the viewer back in time. Much of the furnishing and decoration is centuries old and in remarkable condition.

The bedrooms…


The bathrooms have stunning marble basins. The showers and plumbing are modern…which is a good thing.

The kitchen is fabulous, what a great place to have breakfast.

There is a tiny chapel behind doors.

There are beautiful sitting and dining rooms.

When layers of paint were scraped off some old doors the original decoration was revealed.


On the bottom floor, down stone stairs, is a spa with a sauna, jacuzzi and showers.

Across the road in front of the palazzo is a stunning walled garden with a pool, old well and a kitchen. I love the sculptures tucked into the trees.

The views from the house are gorgeous.


Stunning Palazzo Buonvisi is now available for rent…what a fabulous place to stay and experience the past glory of Italy with modern comforts!

Palazza Buonvisi…http://www.palazzobuonvisi.com

An interesting walk

You might have seen this box beside the bridge at Ponte a Serraglio.


Or perhaps the one in the Villa Fiori park.

If you open the lid you will find a map.

The map has directions for a walk,with points of interest along the way, from Ponte a Serraglio to La Villa.

It is the initiative of the Pegaso walking group…well done!

My Ferragosto

Ferragosto Is a public holiday for all of Italy. Emperor Augustus made the 1st August a holiday to reward agricultural workers after weeks of hard work. Centuries later the Catholic Church moved the day of festivities to the 15th August, the Assumption of Mary, to include it in the celebrations.

Just about everyone is on the move on Ferragosto, either going to or coming from holidays, heading for the beach or the mountains and gathering with friends and family. It is a good day to stay off the roads. Autostrade can turn into car parks and traffic jams are everywhere…and it is hot!

This year I was very lucky to be invited for lunch with friends in the hills behind Bagni di Lucca. The house is accessible by a road used by almost nobody, no traffic snarls for us.

You know lunch is going to be good when you can see a wood fired oven smoking.

The house is hundreds of years old and is hidden in a chestnut forest.

I love the huge flat rock dragged into the yard to be used as a table. I needs to be level before that happens.

The first delights to come from the oven were potato, herb and parmesan slices.

Home made pasta followed.


There was crunchy bread.

Roast chicken and ribs.

All the roasted vegetables came from the orto.

A vegetable tart appeared and quickly disappeared.

Next was a delicious fig and nut tart.

After lunch there was some serious resting and conversation…what a perfect way to spend Ferragosto. I feel very privileged to be included in these celebrations.

This summer has been very hot, especially in the last few weeks. The flowers on my balcony and on the bridge have been a big disappointment. The flowers are straggly and nothing I do seems to make a difference. The bees don’t seem to mind though. At least someone is happy with them.

I like to listen to podcasts and recently I was asked to be part of one. My friend Andrea Waterhouse is doing a series of podcasts about Lucca and invited me to chat with her about my thoughts on living in the area. The podcasts are called Life in Lucca with Andrea.

If you don’t have a podcast app you can listen on Andrea’s website…lifeinlucca.podbean.com

Sewing circle

I was invited recently to visit a sewing group in Casabasciana. My friend Erica belongs to the group. Members meet roughly once a week to sew together. Luciana leads the group. She has had many years experience as a professional seamstress with tailors who worked for high end brands and later with a dance company making exquisite costumes. How wonderful that she loves to share her knowledge and experience!

Luciana is the one in the pretty floral dress. The group is fluid, people come and go.

I was fascinated to see an old Pfaff sewing machine. I thought it must be about the same vintage as my beloved Bernina that I have been sewing on for almost 60 years.

I was proved to be correct when the original docket was produced from the purchase…1962.

Each person works on their own items on various machines and help each other with their work. I think this is an excellent idea, those with experience can help people learning to sew and it is nice to work in a friendly group. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon in the company of others doing something you enjoy.

Luciana has an interesting way of cutting out a garment. The paper pattern is secured in place with an old iron and chalk is used to outline the pattern, then the garment is cut.

She showed me some of the costumes she has made over the years. She has quite a collection.

The group has a few pretty skirts to sell to a dance or school group who might need some costumes. If anyone is interested they can call Luciana on 348 3627426

Thank you for inviting me to see the sewing group. Perhaps it will inspire others to form a group of their own.

Not everyone will have an amazing view from their sewing room like this one in Casabasciana.

Art and Music

The art exhibition by Morena Guarnaschelli and Deenagh Miller at Albergo La Corona in Ponte a Serraglio was declared open last night. It continues until 13th August.

The art works are scattered through the entrance to the hotel and the restaurant. Be sure to go downstairs to the lovely terraces by the river for more.



There are also a couple of pieces by Giuseppe Zago whose exhibition is currently on in Montefegatesi.

After I attended the opening of the exhibition I enjoyed the concert in the garden of the Comune building in La Villa. There was a delightful quartet playing for us on a cool evening. I’m sorry the photo is not better, but the lighting from my position was not the best.

It is wonderful to see things happening in Bagni di Lucca!