My Ferragosto

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.

If you don’t have a podcast app you can listen on Andrea’s website…lifeinlucca.podbean.com

Art exhibition at Albergo La Corona

Two local artists are holding an exhibition at the Albergo La Corona in Ponte a Seraglio. Morena Guarnaschelli and Deenagh Miller will be showing their work from 30th July until 13th August.

They will have an opening celebration on 30th July from 6.00pm.

I managed to chop off the phone number for the hotel, which is a good thing because it is incorrect. Here is the correct number. 0583 923762.

Food fair

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.

Village walks

Last year I went on several guided walks organised by the Comune and they were excellent. It is great to know they will be happening again this summer. It is a delightful way to discover more about the beautiful villages that make up Bagni di Lucca.

The groups are restricted to 10 people and last year were well attended so book early by calling 335 5821084. The guided walks are free and the commentary is in Italian.

The Albergo Corona, in conjunction with Fiorenzo Consulting and our wonderful local historian Virgilio Contrucci, is organising guided walks to discover the history of Bagni di Lucca.

The first one will be about the Grand Tour, a time when English people came to Bagni di Lucca as part of their travel to Italy. There will be 2 walks in this category. The first walk will be on 13th June and the second 1st August leaving the Corona Hotel at 9.30am. The cost of €40 will include a light lunch at the Corona Hotel at the conclusion of the walk. The commentary will be in Italian with English translation.

The second history walk will be about aristocrats and artists who helped shape Bagni di Lucca. There will be 2 walks in this category, the first on 19th June and the second on 1st August beginning at 9.30am. The €40 cost will include a light lunch at the Corona Hotel at the conclusion of the walk. The commentary will be in Italian with English translation.

The third group of walks will be about Puccini who spent some time in Bagni di Lucca during his career. The first walk will be on 26th June, the second on 24th July and the third on 15th August, all beginning at the 5.00pm. The guided walk will be followed by apericena at the Corona Hotel. The commentary will be in Italian with English translation.

The fourth group of walks will be in Montefegatesi, the first on 17th July and the second on 25th August at 5.00pm. Participants will gather at the Corona Hotel to be driven in a small bus to Montefegatesi where the walk will begin. The walks will conclude with aperitivo in the shadow of the Dante Alighieri monument at the top of beautiful Montefegatesi, the highest village in Bagni di Lucca.

All walks will take approximately 3 hours. To make further enquires or to book a tour please call 0583 923762 or email LaCorona.bookings@outlook.com

Support your local business

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.

Ponte localita Molini

This beautiful bridge is on the road to Fabbriche di Vergemoli from Bagni di Lucca. It leads to an old mill.

It was built in the 1400s and restored in 2011.

It crosses a narrow stream.

There are signs up indicating that it is now a centre for outdoor activities, but it seems to be closed now,

It is worth a short stop to cross the bridge and look around…when we can move around more freely. There are many treasures in our area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The road at Ponte della Maddalena

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.

 

A new edition of Pieve di Controne

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…abarsi@verizon.net