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.
Bagni di Lucca has the first purpose built casino in Europe. It was built in 1837 and operated as a casino until 1945.
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.
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
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.
There will be music and art, food and conversations, make your own mandala…something for everyone. Please email Morena for more information firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Barbara from Granaiola sang for us beautifully.
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.
There are still 3 nights to go for the exhibition….don’t miss it.
For more on the celebrations please go to Francis’ blog. Click here.