I recently given a wonderful book to read by the author, Dawn Cumming, who lives in Granaiola. Dawn is an art historian specialising in Italian Renaissance Art. She divides her time between Bagni di Lucca and the UK. She has a passion for Tuscany, particularly its art and culture. Her book is called In Search of Annalena. A Life of Tragedy and Triumph in Renaissance Florence, published in October 2020. It follows the life of Annalena, born in the time of the Medici. Her story is set in Florence where she marries, becomes a young widow and establishes a convent. Part of the building still exists.
I loved the book! I felt that I was with Annalena in Florence, walking the streets she walked, seeing the buildings she saw and getting a feeling of life in Renaissance Florence.
In Search of Annalena is exquisitely researched. Dawn’s love of Florence is clear. I look forward to my next trip to Florence so that I can visit Casa di Annalena and find the other places that were important in her life. She was a remarkable woman with a fascinating life.
Ann Barsi is working on a new edition of the 2012 edition of Pieve di Controne, a book by Elio Carlotti on the history of the village. The 2012 edition, which was actually the second print, sold almost all 500 copies. The book sale proceeds help the Pieve parish and those looking for their Pieve roots.
This edition would like to include more family pages, so anyone with a story to tell is encouraged to take a page in the book. It helps to make the book more personal with individual stories of the village and interesting tales of descendants’ lives, past and present.The Family Page could be your own family story, a family tree, photos and stories of life in the village.
Here are some examples of family pages.
You can help in 3 ways, pre-order the book, buy a Family Page or donate any amount.The books will cost €25 and a Family Page is €150.
For more information please contact Ann Barsi…email@example.com
David Collins has written part 2 of Buying and Restoring in Tuscany, an excellent guide for those looking to buy in this gorgeous part of the world.
There will be a book launch on September 8th in Lucca at Lucca Libri, Viale Regina Margherita 113. (Near the train station) It will begin at 5pm with an aperitivo. Come along to meet the author and hear all about the book.
Here is what to expect from the new book…
The second volume of this poular guide provides the reader with priceless information about searching for, and buying and restoring a property in Tuscany. It is packed with valuable tips and precious advice difficult to find elsewhere and is based on practical day-to-day experience of the author.
David shows us how to conduct a negotiation the “Italian way” or to quickly recognise a dwelling in disguise. The role and responsibility of the Italian notary is unveiled for the Anglo-Saxon world. We learn about the essential steps in managing a restoration project whilst revealing several tips.
He explains how earthquakes can affect older properties and unravels the complex laws in a simple and plain way for everyone to understand. The section on swimming pools makes you want to immediately go for a refreshing dip. The chapter on arches is both fascinating and insightful or the way he throws a sense of humour on malfunctioning septic tanks and suggestions for fixes.
David “the philosopher” reflects on why people move to Tuscany in the first place and how some end up living a full and wholesome life whilst others live in a bubble. Many essential taxation matters are revealed and the book wraps up with a very useful checklist of questions that everyone must have when viewing a property.
David has managed to provide us with a wealth of information deriving from his unsurpassed experience of working and living in Tuscany. This book is an absolute must before you depart on the Italian journey!
For those not able to attend the launch the book is available on Amazon.
Our area is now so quiet and peaceful it is difficult to think that it was once heavily involved in the battles of WWII. The Gothic Line was a German defensive line built from Pisa to Rimini and it went through the northern Apennine Mountains around Bagni di Lucca. There is still evidence today of the fortifications built in the area.
Charles McNamara has written a novel, Ineke’s Mitten, about two friends, Norwegian Nels Torkle and Italian Alberto Bisio, who are sent towards the end of the war to fight near Lucca, Bisio’s home town.
The novel tell how two men, forced to hide in America from the Germans during WWII join the Tenth Mountain Division and are sent to train in the mountains of Colorado. Finally, not long before the end of the war, they are sent into combat in Europe.
In early 1945 the division is sent to Lucca in a desperate attempt to dislodge the Germans from their mountain strongholds. The commanders rely on the two friends to find an attack route up a dangerous cliff called Riva Ridge. Because of their efforts, the Germans are sent fleeing from their final stronghold in Europe.
I think it is always interesting to read about events that take place in a familiar area. I’m sure Charles’ book brings to life a very difficult time in our beautiful mountains.
La Villa has a delightful new addition to the shopping scene. Shelley House is an art gallery and book shop. It packs a lot into a tiny space.
They stock a good range of fiction, poetry, Italian Art, Opera, Italian recipe books, local history…in several languages. There are also books about Shelley, Keats and English poets who visited Bagni di Lucca.
Shelley House is a special place where you can find and buy works of art by painters and sculptors. If you are an artist they can organise and exhibition for you.
Meet Luca Guidi and Rebecca Palagi…drop in to say hello.
Shelley House is at number 78 Via Umberto I. It is open Thursday to Saturday 9.30 am until 6.00pm.