I have revisited Il Totto in Elio Sassi in nearby Garfagnana to enjoy their version of cucina povera again. The restaurant famously served chestnut polenta and ossi salati, which translates as salted bones.
Once most of the meat has been removed pork bones are soaked in brine for a few days then boiled.
There was a large table near us and their polenta was delivered on a board and cut using a special tool.
They serve other things as well. I had ravioli with ragu and fried chicken a rabbit…delicious.
It is a lovely drive up to Elio Sassi. The views are glorious from the village. I highly recommend a visit.
It is much more common these days to throw things away rather than fix them. Mending can make much more sense. It saves money and reduces the number of unwanted items being thrown away.
If you need your shoes repaired there is an excellent place to take them near Bagni di Lucca. On the road towards Lucca, in Diecimo, you will find a great little shop set back from the road.
Inside Luigi sits working on shoes in need of repair. When I asked how long he had been doing his job he replied with a broad grin, “A long time, I am very old”. Of course he said it in Italian.
The shop is busy. In the short time I was there taking to Luigi several people came in to drop off or pick up shoes. I hope he continues his valuable work for many years to come.
We are enjoying some welcome rain today in Bagni di Lucca. It should help the local fire situation.
As much as we need the rain, a fine weekend would be welcome. The annual walk from Fornoli will happen this Sunday, 7th April.
You can begin in Fornoli and walk for 2 kilometres or more. The longest walk is 20 kilometres. Just roll up and register from 7.30am.
It is a lot of fun and there are refreshments provided along the way.
The wonderful garden event, Verdemura, is on again this week in Lucca. It begins on Friday at midday and continues Saturday and Sunday. It is held on the stunning wall of Lucca near the Santa Anna entrance.
I’m sure both events will be popular and well attended.
If you look closely at this photo you will see 2 birds standing on the wall in the river at Ponte a Serraglio.
One is a cormorant (I think. I am happy to be corrected) The black bird was drying his wings in the sun. He wasn’t there long before he flew off, no doubt looking for lunch.
It always surprises me to see seagulls on our river, but I suppose it is not all that far as the crow (or seagull) flies from the sea.
Green buds are beginning to appear on the trees. Spring is underway.
The sun is shining, but there is a fierce wind blowing.
The impressive San Martino cathedral in Lucca has had its facade cleaned recently. On my last visit it was covered in scaffolding. I was happy to see it uncovered and looking wonderful.
The church was begun around 1070 and has had many additions over the centuries. The facade was started in 1204. There are 3 magnificent arches with open galleries above adorned with sculptures.
There is a legend to explain why the columns on the facade are different. When the residents of Lucca wanted to decorate the facade they began a competition and invited artists to create a column. Many artists created columns and the residents decided not to select a winner but used all the columns and didn’t pay the artists.
The labrynth embedded in the right pier of the portico is believed to date from the 12th or 13th century.
The original of the sculpture of San Martino, who was a knight on horseback, dates from 1233 and is inside the cathedral. The one on the facade is a copy.
I’ll take you inside in another post.
Carnevale Viareggio is an incredible spectacle. The amount of organisation any work to pull this event together is huge. The floats are stunning, the costumes are fabulous, the music thrilling, but what I like most is the fun and enthusiasm of the participants and audience.
Here are some of my favourite faces from this year’s event.
See much more on Carnevale Viareggio on Bagni di Lucca and Beyond.
The artists’ exhibition is open at the casino in Ponte a Serraglio.
Here is a list of artists showing their work.
…a selection at the entrance and the main room of the casino.
Find 9 faces in this painting.
In the second room is a selection of photographs.
I was happy to see my friend Tina.
…and Annalisa from Bar Italia. Where would Ponte be without her and her team?
The small room.
I hope you will all visit over the next week.