I had an appointment recently in Borgo a Mozzano and had a bit of time to spare so I walked to the Ponte della Maddalena or Devil’s Bridge as it is commonly known. We can’t drive past the bridge on the usual route to Bagni di Lucca right now because of road damage in 2 places.
I walked to the top of the bridge to see the spectacle views from up there.
I could also see the huge landslide that has closed the road near the bridge completely. Work is progressing to clear it.
If you look closely at the photo below you can see a digger of some kind working on the slope. I hope it is secured in some way. There were also 2 men walking near the top of the landslide…dangerous work indeed.
It looks as though it might be a while before the road is open.
I Macelli is a delightful restaurant in nearby Borgo a Mozzano. It is a bright yellow building behind the town. We visited on an autumn evening.
The decor is traditional. We were early, the first people there, but it soon filled up and by the time we left all tables were full.
The menu is typical of the area. All of our chosen dishes were well presented and delicious.
A selection of salami and local choices.
Buffalo mozzarella with anchovies.
Bacala with polenta.
Tagliata di cinta sinese with cannellini and borlotti beans.
Grilled veal chop.
Tagliata di manzo with Gorgonzola and radicchio.
We were much too full together try one of the delicious desserts…next time.
I Macelli…Piazza I Macelli, Borgo a Mozzano.
The translation of I Macelli is The Slaughterhouses. I am guessing that the site of this excellent restaurant was once an abattoir. The bright yellow building sits beside a little stream behind the main commercial area of Borgo a Mozzano, the village near the Ponte della Maddalena.
The restaurant is one of our favourite places to dine, with good reason. The food is very good, the setting pleasant and the service is friendly and efficient.
To get there, drive down the one way street in the centre of Borgo a Mozzano and turn left at the sign for the restaurant.
I look forward to many delicious meals at I Macelli when I return to Bagni di Lucca very soon.
There can never be too many photos of the magnificent Ponte della Maddalena. Sometimes you can be very lucky and find the river below as smooth as glass, offering gorgeous reflections.
Walk to the top for beautiful views of the valley.
I love this bridge…when I see it I know I am not far from Bagni di Lucca.
Halloween is a good excuse for a party. Annalisa threw a fun dress-up party at Bar Italia in Ponte a Serraglio.
There was an interesting cast of characters.
Please note the headless doll in the photo below.
Later in the evening we headed off to Borgo a Mozzano for the famous party which ends in fireworks at the Ponte a Maddelena.
The streets were very crowded, the lighting patchy, so my photos mostly didn’t turn out well.
There were some great costumes. I was particularly impressed by a fellow with an axe through his head and several strings of sausages around his neck. No photos…he got away too quickly.
We shuffled along with the rest of the crowd towards the bridge at the appointed hour. As we arrived a figure swathed in white was being carried to the top of the bridge. Her head fell off on the way, appropriate under the circumstances. She was duly put back together and thrown off the bridge…a sign for the fireworks to get under way.
The audience was enthralled.
I have been wanting to attend the celebrations at Borgo a Mozzano for many years. I have now done so and will be content with that one visit.
The Ponte della Maddalena is the most recognisable structure in our area. It is a 900 year old treasure.
It is possible to see in this photo some of the build up of debris on the buttresses of the bridge. We have had lots of rain over the last 12 months and the river has been carrying lots of rubbish along with it and quite a bit has gathered around the base of the bridge.
Finally, the clean up has begun. The river has been diverted and the tree branches and other bits and pieces are being removed.
It is good to see the Ponte della Maddalena being looked after. I never tire of looking at this amazing bridge every time I pass. I often stop and walk across and enjoy the view from the top as well. Let’s hope it is here for another 900 years.
Francis has written about the clean up too on his blog. Click here to see his report.
Every year, on a day in April, Borgo a Mozzano’s streets are filled with azaleas…a great time to visit this quaint nearby town. It wasn’t the best day with overcast skies and threatening rain, but I went anyway.
There were displays in the streets.
…lots of flowers for sale. Some of the rhododendrons will be living under the hazelnut trees at Casa Debbio.
Of course there was food for sale.
…and other things to buy.
The pool and surrounds in Borgo are looking great.
The pruned trees on the main street are springing to life.
On the way home I stopped on the Borgo side of the river for a different view of the Ponte della Maddelena. Even on an overcast day the bridge looks great.
I prefer my milk straight from the cow. When I was a child a local dairy farmer delivered fresh milk to us in a bucket. He poured the milk into bowl and when it had settled Mum would spoon the cream off the top and pour it into bottles.
I can still remember the taste…a far cry from the stuff we buy at the supermarket now. It is pasteurised, homogenised, skimmed, vitamins added etc, etc, and it no longer tastes like milk.
Luckily there is a place nearby where it is possible to buy milk straight from the dairy…the mechanical cow, or latteria as it is called.
The little hut is in the car park at the Penny Market in Borgo a Mozzano.
For 20 cents you can buy a bottle and €1 gets you a litre of fresh milk.
There is even a photo of the dairies the milk comes from.
I think it is a great idea and I have become a regular at the mechanical cow.
We have had some very wild weather in Bagni di Lucca and the mountains around us. On Sunday night there was an enormous storm which dumped heavy rain on the area. Roads have been closed, and some are still closed. There has been damage to property and some villages remain cut off from main roads.
There was another smaller storm last night, but I haven’t heard of any further damage. The sun has appeared today. With a bit of luck it will stick around for a while.
Here are a few pictures of the muddy river in Ponte a Serraglio.
The river looked a bit more calm today. It is still high, but it is not rushing past so quickly.
The road to Lucca is cut past Borgo a Mozzano. Until yesterday it was cut from Chifenti as water had flooded the road to Ponte a Maddalena. It was open today so I went to the bridge to take a look at the river from there.
You can see how high the river is in the following photo. It is right at the top of the weir.
I walked to the top of the bridge. Two days ago there was a metre of water covering the road below and in the shops and houses beside the road.
If you go to YouTube and look for Serchio in Piena there are several videos of the damaging floods.
I hope the people who have suffered damage get back to normal soon.
Our lovely friend Agostino took us for a drive to Cune, a gorgeous village above Borgo a Mozzano, just a few kilometres from Bagni di Lucca.
We drove through olive trees and grapevines and then through wonderful chestnut forests on our way past Cune and up the hill to the Chiesa and Romitorio di San Bartolomeo. It was a misty, rainy day, which made the drive even more beautiful.
We parked the car beside the road and walked a small distance to the collection of ancient buildings.
The stone buildings are well preserved and the area is well tended. The church was begun in the 12th century and completed in the 12th or 13th century with the addition of an apse.
This doorway is tiny.
There is an old oven in one of the buildings.
…and some interesting old stones.
Mushrooms are growing well near the buildings. The first one was enormous and seemed to be growing from the side of a building. The others were a normal size.
Further up the mountain are the remains of an old signal tower, called “The eye of Lucca”. It was an early warning system for the area. On a fine day we will investigate.
On the way home we had an excellent view of the Ponte Maddalena from above.
There is a never ending supply of fascinating things to discover in the Bagni di Lucca area.
Thank you Agostino for a great day.