Womens’ Day Exhibition

This evening was the opening event for the exhibition of art and photography to celebrate Womens’ Day at the Casino in Ponte a Serraglio.

I went earlier in the day to take photos. It is always great to see the beautiful rooms of the casino.


Womens' Day

In the main room is the collection of art.

Womens' Day

Womens' Day

he second room holds photos of women at work. The photos are both old and current…an excellent insight into the lives of women in Bagni di Lucca.


Womens' Day

The evening was well attended.

Womens Day

The exhibition will be open each day this week from 5.00pm.

Womens' Day

Womens' Day

Then and now…the casino

The first public casino in Europe was built in Ponte a Serraglio in 1837. Here is an old postcard of the casino.


The building looks much the same now, but the hotel next door is now a private house.


It is no longer an operating casino and is only open for special events. If you get the chance, go inside to see the beautifully renovated interior.

Bagni di Lucca has the first casino in Europe


The Royal Casino in Ponte a Serraglio was the first public casino in Europe. Gambling was already popular in the area and people would gather in one of the buildings in Bagni Caldi, which now houses the thermal baths, until Carlo Lodovico di Borbone commissioned Giuseppe Pardini to build the casino in 1837.

the casino today

The interior of the building is beautiful and was lovingly restored recently, bringing back to life the walls decorated with the gilded lilies on a blue background, similar to the Florentine iris. The original ornate crystal chandeliers are still there along with some of the original furnishings.

the beautiful ceiling and the original chandeliers

the Florentine lily

2 French gentlemen, Adrien Mathis and Edouard Ginnestet were allowed the management of the gambling. European aristocracy gambled fortunes at “biribosso”, a game of chance using numbered counters, said to be the beginnings of roulette. Several early gambling games were originally played here in Bagni di Lucca. The profits from the casino helped with the management of the spas in the area.

It must have been a fun place to be, with poetry, plays and concerts performed by the famous musicians of the day, including Franz Liszt.

where the musicians used to perform

The casino closed after WWII, but reopened in 2005 after the renovations, which took 2 years. It was used for a time as the information centre and is now available for exhibitions and private functions.

the restaurant

beautiful walls in the restaurant

the well stocked bar

I love the details on the walls and ceilings. I was here when the restoration work was being done and the patient workers would occasionally let me watch them at work. It inspired me to paint my walls at home. I wish they looked as good as the ones at the casino.

decoration on the walls

detail on the ceiling

decoration on the ceiling

the interior took 2 years to restore

The casino is in Ponte a Serraglio, Via del Casino 66/68. There is parking space at Villa Fiori across the river and you can walk to the casino via the passerella (walking bridge).

Ponte a Serraglio

Casino Ponte a Serraglio