Ferragosto Is a public holiday for all of Italy. Emperor Augustus made the 1st August a holiday to reward agricultural workers after weeks of hard work. Centuries later the Catholic Church moved the day of festivities to the 15th August, the Assumption of Mary, to include it in the celebrations.
Just about everyone is on the move on Ferragosto, either going to or coming from holidays, heading for the beach or the mountains and gathering with friends and family. It is a good day to stay off the roads. Autostrade can turn into car parks and traffic jams are everywhere…and it is hot!
This year I was very lucky to be invited for lunch with friends in the hills behind Bagni di Lucca. The house is accessible by a road used by almost nobody, no traffic snarls for us.
You know lunch is going to be good when you can see a wood fired oven smoking.
The house is hundreds of years old and is hidden in a chestnut forest.
I love the huge flat rock dragged into the yard to be used as a table. I needs to be level before that happens.
The first delights to come from the oven were potato, herb and parmesan slices.
Home made pasta followed.
There was crunchy bread.
Roast chicken and ribs.
All the roasted vegetables came from the orto.
A vegetable tart appeared and quickly disappeared.
Next was a delicious fig and nut tart.
After lunch there was some serious resting and conversation…what a perfect way to spend Ferragosto. I feel very privileged to be included in these celebrations.
This summer has been very hot, especially in the last few weeks. The flowers on my balcony and on the bridge have been a big disappointment. The flowers are straggly and nothing I do seems to make a difference. The bees don’t seem to mind though. At least someone is happy with them.
I like to listen to podcasts and recently I was asked to be part of one. My friend Andrea Waterhouse is doing a series of podcasts about Lucca and invited me to chat with her about my thoughts on living in the area. The podcasts are called Life in Lucca with Andrea.
La Corona hotel, in conjunction with Fiorenzo Consulting, has organised a food fair to be held in the garden of Villa Fiori in Ponte a Serraglio on July 4 from midday until 8.00pm. Lots of local producers will be showing their wares. It sounds like a fun event.
Come along to try local food and wine. It is excellent to see new initiatives in Bagni di Lucca.
Tuscany became a yellow zone this week which means that bars and restaurants are open for outside dining. The last year has been very tough indeed for businesses.
Yesterday, for the first time in a while I enjoyed lunch away from home and it was excellent. With a couple of friends I sat on the outdoor terrace at Circolo dei Forestieri. It was great to see the well spaced tables full and the smiling faces (under masks) of the friendly servers.
We need to support our local businesses to help them back on their feet. Let’s hope this spring and summer will see us come slowly out from under the covid disaster.
I had an appointment recently in Borgo a Mozzano and had a bit of time to spare so I walked to the Ponte della Maddalena or Devil’s Bridge as it is commonly known. We can’t drive past the bridge on the usual route to Bagni di Lucca right now because of road damage in 2 places.
I walked to the top of the bridge to see the spectacle views from up there.
I could also see the huge landslide that has closed the road near the bridge completely. Work is progressing to clear it.
If you look closely at the photo below you can see a digger of some kind working on the slope. I hope it is secured in some way. There were also 2 men walking near the top of the landslide…dangerous work indeed.
It looks as though it might be a while before the road is open.
Ann Barsi is working on a new edition of the 2012 edition of Pieve di Controne, a book by Elio Carlotti on the history of the village. The 2012 edition, which was actually the second print, sold almost all 500 copies. The book sale proceeds help the Pieve parish and those looking for their Pieve roots.
This edition would like to include more family pages, so anyone with a story to tell is encouraged to take a page in the book. It helps to make the book more personal with individual stories of the village and interesting tales of descendants’ lives, past and present.The Family Page could be your own family story, a family tree, photos and stories of life in the village.
Here are some examples of family pages.
You can help in 3 ways, pre-order the book, buy a Family Page or donate any amount.The books will cost €25 and a Family Page is €150.
For more information please contact Ann Barsi…email@example.com