A walk in Cocciglia and Pallegio

On Sunday I joined another of the guided walks to some of the villages that make up Bagni di Lucca. This time the walk took us to Cocciglia and nearby Pallegio.

We began at the bottom of Cocciglia.


First there was a small detour to Ponte Nero, the old bridge that crosses the Lima River at Strette di Cocciglia.

From the bridge you can see the stunning Strette di Cocciglia, a beautiful part of the river,  now the home of Canyon Park adventures.


We were able to see inside the Oratorio di San Rocco, the little church dating from 1532, at the beginning of the bridge.

Then it was back to the path towards Cocciglia. The village was named after a late Roman settler called Caucilius or Cocilius. Along the way we saw some well kept farm plots and this very stylish little shrine.


Just before the path that takes you up the hill to Cocciglia is the Oratorio San Michele, dating from the 13th century, with its well kept cemetery.


Across from the Oratorio is the path to the village. This was the only way to the village before the road was built in the not too distant past.

 




From the path there is a good view of Pallegio, the village we visited next.


Our first stop at the beginning of the village was here.

We walked along a tiny laneway where the wall was covered with caper plants.

Cocciglia is a maze of tiny streets with archways and tunnels, the remnants of old defence gateways into the town. Houses are tucked inside these structures. The doors to keep enemies out are long gone, but you can see where they were.

This wall of a house is ancient. It could tell some stories.

We kept going up towards the parish church dedicated to San Bartolommeo.

Some of the construction is Roman with additions in medieval times.


 

You can see the repairs and additions in this wall at the base of the church.

We arrived at the top of Cocciglia.

In the church is a cross depicting the crucifixion.

From the top we walked down the road to drive to Pallegio. Before the town is the Oratorio di Santa Maria della Quercia, with a stunning interior. These precious churches have to be firmly locked to prevent theft of the treasures inside.




From here we walked down a leafy path to the Ponte Vecchio, the old bridge, part of the ancient path between Cocciglia and Pallegio.

Just past the bridge is a remnant of the Roman path.

On one of the stones is the mark of the man who placed it all those years ago. It is amazing to me that I can stand on a path that has existed for 2000 years or more.

Further up the hill is the tiny town of Pallegio.
Very few people now live in the village and the parish church is now closed. We stopped for refreshments and spoke to some of the friendly people from the town. It would be sad to see these villages become empty. Let’s hope some people come to buy the old houses and bring new life.


 


 

 


On the walk back to the car there were excellent views of Cocciglia and Casoli in the distance.

…a last look at Pallegio.

Once again the walk was great fun and very informative. Thank you to Antonio and Virgilio for sharing their love and knowledge of these beautiful villages. We are so lucky to have these intact, authentic places to explore in Bagni di Lucca.

There are more walks to come.

Blue sky over Cocciglia

Cocciglia looks stunning from the SS Brennero, especially under a gorgeous blue sky.

Cocciglia is just one of the wonderful villages that make up Bagni di Lucca. Each one of the ancient villages has something special. Click here to see a list of the villages. There is a link to a post on each of the villages I have visited.

Ponte Nero

There is a tiny church beside the SS Brennero at Cocciglia. It is easy to miss as it is below the road, but well worth a visit.

Oratorio di San Rocco was built in 1532.

Ponte Nero crosses the river beside the bridge.

Take the path on the right at the end of the little bridge to Strette di Cocciglia, the narrow rocky part of the river below. Look out for Dragon Regulus who is said to live under the rocks.

I will take you there another day.

Ponte Nero now leads to Canyon Park headquarters, which means lots more people will enjoy this gorgeous place.

 

Cocciglia

Legend has it that Cocciglia was built on land owned by a Roman settler named Cocilius. Only about 80 people now live in the village. It was once an important fortified town which guarded the road leading to Controneria, further up the mountain.
There is a short road to the village from the Brennero Road. On the way is a small church with an impressive bell tower.

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The village comes into view just around the corner from the church.

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There is also a view across to Pallegio.

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There is a walking path opposite the church which appears to lead to the village above.

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I took the easy option and drove up the road to the tiny parking area just outside Cocciglia. Come for a walk through the little village.

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The church is right at the top of the village.

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This is the stone over the door to the church.

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On the way up to the church is this quaint statue.

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I found the next colourful image on the front of a house.

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I saw no people on my walk, but the village is obviously lived in. There are pretty gardens and the houses are in good repair.

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The village is no longer isolated, but I can’t help thinking about the lives of people who lived here centuries ago. This place is tiny and life must have been tough. I hope the residents from the past occasionally had time to sit back and enjoy the view.

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