A wooden horse

The wooden horse and rider in the museum at San Cassiano is not just any horse. The sculpture has been attributed to Jacopo della Quercia. He was an early Renaissance artist from Querciagrossa, near Siena. He became a resident of Lucca when his family moved there.

He was in the contest to design the Doors of Paradise at the Baptistery in Florence, but lost out to Ghiberto. One of his most famous works is the exquisite sarcophagus of Ilaria in the cathedral in  Lucca.

On a recent trip to San Cassiano I was delighted to find the museum open. It is housed in the Oratory opposite the church.

San Cassiano museum

Up close the wooden carving is beautiful. In 1909 it was found in a state of considerable neglect. It was restored in the 1920s and again in the early 1990s.

The sculpture is made up of 3 elements of linden wood. 2 elements make up most of the horse, while the bust of the saint is carved from a single block of wood.

San Cassiano museum

San Cassiano museum

San Cassiano museum

San Cassiano museum

San Cassiano museum

San Cassiano museum

San Cassiano museum

 

San Cassiano museum

Behind the horse are 2 other carvings. Both are carved from a single block of poplar wood, with the exception of some parts of the hands and the head. On the left of the altar is Archangel Gabriel and on the right The Virgin of the Annunciation.

San Cassiano museum

San Cassiano museum

The church was open on the day I visited as well.

San Cassiano church

The interior is stunning. It looks ancient.

San Cassiano church

San Cassiano church

The floor has been worn down by centuries of feet.

San Cassiano church

The villages of Bagni di Lucca are a treasure trove for those who go looking.

 

 

 

Campiglia Alta

Campiglia Alta is another area of Bagni di Lucca I was unaware of until recently. The turnoff is on the road from La Villa to San Cassiano.

Campiglia Alta

It is really just a collection of houses in a gorgeous setting.

Campiglia Alta

A peaceful tree lined road takes you up the mountain.

Campiglia Alta

Campiglia Alta

Campiglia Alta

Campiglia Alta

I was there in late spring. Everything was bright green.

Campiglia Alta

Campiglia Alta

Campiglia Alta

The views are fabulous and the silence is wonderful.

Campiglia Alta

Campiglia Alta

Campiglia Alta

…a special place to live.

Pieve di Controne

Pieve di Controne is one of my favourite villages in Bagni di Lucca. It is a little different from some of the others as it has quite a bit of flat land, rather than being perched on the side of a mountain.

There are some lovely cultivated areas.

Pieve di Controne

Pieve di Controne

It has an amazing church with 2 facades.

Pieve di Controne

Pieve di Controne

Pieve di Controne is a collection of mostly stone houses…

Pieve di Controne

Pieve di Controne

…with pretty gardens and fruit trees.

Pieve di Controne

Pieve di Controne

I am always attracted to old doors, especially green doors, and Pieve di Controne has a fine selection.

Pieve di Controne

Pieve di Controne

There is usually a sleepy cat or 2 in the villages.

Pieve di ControneThe views from Pieve di Controne are excellent.

Pieve di Controne image

If you visit Bagni di Lucca take the time to visit some of the mountain villages.

Sala

Between rain showers I went to see Sala, a Localita of Bagni di Lucca. To get there, follow the sign to Casabasciana from the SS Brennero. Before you get to Casabasciana there is a sign on the right pointing to Sala.

The road into Sala is lovely.

Sala BdL

Someone has been busy chopping wood.

Sala BdL

…arriving in Sala.

Sala BdL

Sala BdL

There is a serious bocce pitch…is that the correct word? It is at the entrance to the town.

Sala BdL

Only a handful of people live in Sala, but those who do, look after their little piece of heaven. The houses are all cared for and the gardens are beautiful…come for a walk through the hamlet.

Sala BdL

There are a couple of archways leading into the group of houses.

Sala BdL

Sala BdL

 

 

Sala BdL

I found a path with a huge cherry tree, laden with almost ripe fruit.

Sala BdL

Sala BdL

Sala BdL

I also found walnut trees, grapes and kiwi vines.

Going through another arch there was a happy tortoise enjoying a bath.

Sala tortoise

It reminded me a bit of Yoda.

Sala tortoise

The gardens are thriving under the obvious care of their owners. There are flowers everywhere.

Sala

Sala

Sala

There are views up to Casabasciana.

Sala view of Casabasciana

…and across to Brandeglio.

Brandeglio from SalaSala is another delightful part of Bagni di Lucca. I can see why people would love to live here.

 

Rain, rain go away

May has been a very wet month in Bagni di Lucca…and it is enough now. We long for some sunny days.

Having said that, I think these wet misty days are beautiful. See what you think.

Bagni Di Lucca rain

Bagni Di Lucca rain

…and from above.

Bagni Di Lucca rain

Bagni Di Lucca rain

Bagni Di Lucca rain

Bagni Di Lucca rain

Bagni Di Lucca rain

Bagni Di Lucca rain

The rain was so heavy for a while Ponte a Serraglio and Bagni Caldi almost disappeared.

Bagni Di Lucca rain

Bagni Di Lucca

Bagni di Lucca manages to look gorgeous whatever the weather…but some sun now please.

The pansies are planted

Between rain showers I planted the pansies on the bridge at Ponte a Serraglio.

Ponte pansies

Ponte pansies

Ponte pansies

Ponte pansies

Ponte pansies

It is raining heavily today…I hope the poor little things don’t drown.

rain in Ponte a Serraglio

I chose the smaller flowers this year as they put on a great show last year. Here is a reminder of what they will look like soon if the weather cooperates.

Ponte pansies