A night at the casino

The casino in Ponte a Serraglio was full of people last night. It is great to see that beautiful building open and full of life. There was delicious food with games to follow.

Annalisa and her crew from Bar Italia did a wonderful job with feeding the crowd who came along to support a great cause and have a fun evening.

Where would we be without Virgilio on an evening like this? He had some help with the games.

Money raised from the event will go to making improvements in the Ponte a Serraglio area.

This is an excellent initiative, well done to all those involved. There will be another chance to attend on 20th May. Keep the date free.

Casino tour

This weekend FAI (a bit like the National Trust) organised walking tours of the Casino and Bernabo Spa in Ponte a Serraglio. The tours were extremely well attended on Saturday and Sunday, bringing lots of new people to the area.

Our tour began at the casino. It is the first purpose built casino in Europe. Carlo Lodovico di Borbone commissioned Giuseppe Pardini to build it in 1837.

We then walked up the hill to the Bernabo Spa. It has been beautifully restored and offers a range of treatments along with a fabulous deep marble bath and natural steam rooms.

There is a great view of Ponte a Serraglio from the terrace in front of the spa.

From there we walked down the hill and stopped briefly in front of what was the English Club, which is now the home of a friend.

We walked back to the casino for an inside tour.

The entrance and sitting room.

This was once a ballroom.

This is the orchestra stage.

The beautiful ceiling.

Detail of some of the decoration.

Delightful Virgilio gave us some lessons in the types of games that were once played in the various casinos that were operating in the area.

Look out for any future walking tours with the FAI.

What to do with the casino?

Bagni di Lucca has the first purpose built casino in Europe. It was built in 1837 and operated as a casino until 1945.

Casino BdL

Casino BdL

It was restored about 14 years ago and is stunning inside. The work was being done when I first arrived in Ponte a Serraglio and I enjoyed watching the workmen bring the beautiful interior back to life.

Casino BdL

 Casino BdL

It was open for some time as the information centre for Bagni di Lucca. The wonderful Leda worked there and took visitors on guided tours throughout the building, telling tales of times gone by when Puccini and Liszt played for guests.

Now it is open only for events, which seems a pity. Many visitors coming to Bagni di Lucca would like to see inside and ask constantly why it is not open to the public.

There is a thought by many residents that it would be a good idea to reopen it as a visitor and information centre. That way it would be open to the public and be a place of interest. I have been asked by some to see if this would be popular.

What do you think?

If you agree that it would be a good idea to have the casino building open and put to use why not let the Comune know? Drop in and have a chat if you live in the area or send them an email. The website is http://comunebagnidilucca.com


Womens’ day celebrations

The Casino in Ponte a Serraglio will be holding lots of events to celebrate Womens’ Day. The opening event is on Sunday 5th March at 5.00pm and the Casino will be open every day from 5.00pm until Sunday 12th March.

Womens' Day Womens' Day img_6314

There will be music and art, food and conversations, make your own mandala…something for everyone. Please email Morena for more information morenaguarna@hotmail.com 

Women at the casino

The Celebration of Women event at the casino in Ponte a Serraglio has been well attended. The opening night was a lot of fun. There were speeches by the organisers and the mayor.

Women at the casino

Women at the casino

Barbara from Granaiola sang for us beautifully.

Barbara singing at the casino

There are lots of paintings and photographs to see, but my favourite part of the exhibition is the one put together by Gemma Fazzi and her team. This year it focuses on the bedroom and they have done a great job collecting things from times gone by to show us how people would have decorated their bedrooms.

Women at the casino

Women at the casino

Women at the casino

There are still 3 nights to go for the exhibition….don’t miss it.

Omaggio alla Donna

For more on the celebrations please go to Francis’ blog. Click here.