The drive into Ponte a Serraglio from Fornoli beneath the gorgeous Tiglio trees is a delight. It is a wonderful introduction to the villages of Bagni di Lucca.
In winter the bare branches form a dramatic arch against the winter sky.
In spring the new leaves appear as if by magic and a beautiful tunnel appears to filter the sunlight.
In autumn the leaves turn gold and fall to the ground. I love driving or walking through with the golden leaves falling around me.
Now it seems they might be cut down. The trees are old and some may be diseased. I really hope this doesn’t happen. This Tiglio tunnel is one of the loveliest things in Bagni di Lucca.
I hope a better solution can be found than removing all of the trees. Surely the best trees can be retained and some new ones planted? It just wouldn’t be the same without them.
Russian prince Nicolai Demidoff donated a hospital to Bagni di Lucca to enable the people of the town to benefit from the thermal waters. It was built in 1825.
He also commissioned the tiny chapel across the stream from the hospital. The Demidoff chapel was designed by Giacomo Marrucci and was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.
There was originally a wooden bridge across to the chapel, but it was destroyed by a flood in 1836. The current stone bridge was built soon after by the son of the prince and designed by Giuseppe Pardini.
The little chapel looks stunning in any season, but particularly when covered with snow.
Here is an early photo of the chapel, before the surrounding trees had grown.
The hospital is now Villagio Globale, a popular place for those wishing to enjoy the thermal waters. You will find Villagio Globale and the chapel in Ponte a Serraglio, on the road towards Granaiola.
Bar Italia has been the heart of Ponte a Serraglio for decades. It was the first place I went to when I arrived in the village almost 15 years ago. I go there, or to Il Monaco, both belonging to hardworking Annalisa, every day when I am in my apartment. Annalisa is ably helped by her sister Suzanna and her team.
Bar Italia has closed for a little while for renovations. Luckily, Il Monaco will take over until the new bar is ready. I don’t know where I would be without my morning coffee and sfoglia.
There was a send off on the last night of the old bar and friends gathered for the party. I was not there, but others have taken photos to share. Thank you Paola, Paul and Collette.
The plans for the new bar were discussed.
Here is a sneak peek at the new chairs.
Several people chipped in to begin the demolishing of the old bar.
Last to go was the coffee machine.
I hope the lovely lady stays.
I wish Annalisa the very best and look forward to the brand new bar. I will be there for the grand opening. I’m sure there will be another party and everyone will be invited.
I love to see Lucchio clinging to its mountain. Here it is in rain and mist in autumn.
When I return to Bagni di Lucca I will enjoy the stunning winter view. I am hoping for snow.
Don’t miss the Festa della Briciole in Fornoli this Sunday and the Santa walk starting in La Villa.
There has been some wild weather in Bagni di Lucca. There was snow for a few hours before rain came to wash it all away.
The river that was extraordinarily low this summer is now roaring past.
I wish I was around to see the snow and rain. I love to stand at my window to watch it all happen.
Thank you Paul for taking photos of my front yard.
I would love to have been at the Presepe Vivente in Granaiola on the weekend. This event is one of the most delightful things to happen in Bagni di Lucca. The whole community gets involved, turning an ancient village into living theatre.
Local photographer David Bonaventuri took these amazing photos. Please look at his Facebook page for more and while you are there see the amazing photos he takes of our beautiful area.
My friend Paola managed to get her photo taken with baby Jesus, played wonderfully by Rafael Kniver.
She took photos too.
I know the event was enjoyed by all who participated. I will have to stay on through December one year to see it for myself.