A tornado in Bagni di Lucca

If you read my other blog, Bagni di Lucca and Beyond, you will know that we had a tornado in Bagni di Lucca on Wednesday night.  Many residents would have spent a terrifying night listening to the fierce wind tearing up trees and tiles from their roofs.

La Villa was very badly hit and the beautiful little park has been devasted. Trees that are hundreds of years old have been uprooted and snapped off.Damage at La Villa

Damage at La Villa

The clean up was quick and efficient in La Villa. The broken tiles have all been cleaned up from the streets and the fallen trees are being cut into smaller pieces for removal.

Damage at La Villa

Damage at La Villa

I went for a walk through La Villa and was pleased to see that things were back in order. There is some roof damage in several buildings, including Circolo dei Forestieri, the pharmacy and Villa Ada.

Circolo dei Forestieri

The pharmacy roof at La Villa

Villa Ada damage

Villa Ada damage

Lots of trees are down in the garden on Villa Ada, but the roof damage doesn’t look as bad from the back of the building.

Villa Ada garden

Villa Ada damage

The trees have been removed from the church in Corsena.

Church in Corsena

A crane is at work in the nearby cemetery to help with the clean up.

damage at the cemetery

Many roads to the outlying villages are cut by fallen trees. There is going to be lots of work for woodcutters for quite some time cleaning up the mess.

fallen trees

Fallen trees

It was a beautiful day here today, the sun was shining and it almost felt like a spring day. It is hard to believe that this strange weather event happened at all.

It has come to my attention that the villages of Gombereto, Veteglia, San Gemignano, San Cassiano and Pieve di Controne have been badly damaged. Francis has been to the area and has some photos and news of the damage.

Click here and here to see his posts.

Hit the target at Villa Ada

Sunday morning saw a colourful collection of archers in the lovely grounds of Villa Ada in La Villa. The annual crossbow competition took place under the trees. The possibility of showers kept a few people away, but the competitors carried on regardless.

Once the first round of competition was finished the cannon sounded and everyone was off to lunch.

Later in the afternoon the fun began again in the grounds of Villa Web.

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It is worth taking a walk around the area even when it is not full of wonderfully dressed characters.

From Via Evangelina Whipple go through the gates leading to the swimming pool. The road is shaded by beautiful old trees.

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There are some stone steps beside the road that need exploring…next time.

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A question for you

I have been asked to do a survey.

In past years in summer, part of the main street in La Villa is closed to traffic and the area in the centre becomes a pedestrian area. The restaurants put tables outside on the street and the area in front of the Circolo dei Forestieri becomes a fun place for people to sit to eat and for children to play safely without the worry of cars.

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This photo was taken yesterday, so you need to imagine that the trees are green and there are flowers everywhere.

Some car parking spaces are lost when the street is closed, but there is more parking behind the town. There is a road that goes behind the main street, so traffic is not disrupted.

There has been some talk that the street closing may not happen this year because a few businesses are not in favour of it.

I think it is a great idea, but I would like to know what you think. Would you like to see the centre of La Villa become a pedestrian area for a couple of months in summer?

If so, what hours would you like to see the street closed. If not, what are your objections?

Whatever your opinion, please leave a comment below, or send me an email….debrakolkka@gmail.com

Bagni di Lucca’s Teatro Accademico

The lovely little theatre in La Villa was modelled on La Scala in Milan…..on a much smaller scale of course.

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The interior is very pretty.

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It is similar to La Scala in that it is the same circular shape. Here is a look at the original.

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It would be a really good idea if the Bagni di Lucca theatre was open occasionally to show visitors the interior. There are often concerts held there…check with the information office for productions.

Meet Patrizia from La Villa

Patrizia runs the wonderful fruit and vegetable shop in La Villa. She will select the best produce for you. Ask her for the perfect melon for lunch and she will find it. Which oranges are the best for juice…..she will tell you. Which peaches are ready to eat now…..she knows.

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Look for her shop in the centre of La Villa, opposite the tiny piazza in Via Umberto1.

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Circolo dei Forestieri

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Circolo dei Forestieri doesn’t mean “circle of forest workers”. It was the Foreigners’ Club years ago. The building was rebuilt in 1924 over an existing 18th century structure. It was the meeting place of visitors to Bagni di Lucca and used for gambling until 1936.

It is now a restaurant. There is a lovely big dining room inside and in summer there is outdoor dining in front of the restaurant and a delightful terrace at the back, with pretty views over the river.

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Although it looks quite grand the food is very reasonably priced……and very good. I photographed my own delicious food and the lovely people at the next table kindly let me take theirs as well.

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That was my caprese salad and the bread that came with it was hot from the oven.

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A lemon sorbet arrived between courses.

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Say hello to Giovanni and Sabina…..and have a great meal.

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www.circolodeiforestieri.it

 

PS. Unfortunately Circolo dei Forestieri has closed. Is there anyone out there who would like to run a restaurant in Bagni di Lucca??? It would be great to see someone take it over and bring it to life again.

 

Many years ago the Circolo dei Forestieri was surrounded by huge trees. Fortunately the new ones are growing.

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Lovers’ walk

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Beside the Lima River at La Villa is the lovely walkway dedicated to the English poets, Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, who spent a few summers in Bagni di Lucca in the 1800s. The path was created from the drainage channel of an ancient millpond.

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The 2 English poets wrote some of their sonnets during their visits to Bagni di Lucca in 1848, 1853 and 1857. The walk was dedicated to the pair in 2008.

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You can find an entrance to the walk near Conad, where you see the sign beside the road.

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There is a path to the walk beside the Teatro Accademico, where there is also access to the pedestrian bridge. It is possible to enter the walk from a couple of places at the other end of La Villa as well.

The pretty park in La Villa

There is a lovely park behind the main street in La Villa, the commercial centre of Bagni di Lucca. It is a cool place to sit on a hot day and there is a children’s playground.

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The park had a bit of a makeover last year. The old trees were trimmed, the water tower renovated, the playgound renewed and a new fountain was installed.

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It is great to see that the park is well used by locals and visitors alike.

Bagno alla Villa

If you walk up from La Villa, the commercial centre of Bagni di Lucca, or down the hill from Colle you will arrive at the quaint little hamlet near Bagno alla Villa, the old thermal spa. Along with Colle and Corsena this is the oldest part of Bagni di Lucca.
The Piazza del Bagno is very pretty and was home to several famous people in the past. The French philosopher Michel de Montaigne stayed here to take the waters in an attempt to cure his kidney stones. The English poets Shelley and Bryon also stayed here. There is a lovely collection of houses here and it is easy to see that it was once very grand.

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The old baths have been recently restored. It would be wonderful if they were open again and the area could once again be a hive of activity.

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Nearby is Villa Ada, the 16th century residence of the De’Nobile family. It was restored on the second half of the 19th century. It would make a wonderful hotel. We just need somebody with lots of money to come along and restore it once again.

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The grounds must have been stunning. There are lovely old stairways and a covered walkway which has become overgrown, such a pity.

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Inside Villa Ada is the pretty little marble statue which has become the symbol of Bagni di Lucca.

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It is an easy walk uphill from La Villa, just head up past the English church and the swimming pool and keep going. It is particularly lovely in spring when it is possible to imagine how grand this area must have once been.
If you know somebody with lots and lots of money, send them along, they might just like to take on a renovation project.