Bagni di Lucca info

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Bagni di Lucca is actually a collection of villages in northern Tuscany coming under the control of the Comune of Bagni di Lucca.

La Villa is the commercial centre and houses the Comune office and a good group of shops, banks and restaurants. La Villa sits on either side of the Lima River.

The area where I live is  Ponte a Serraglio,  1 kilometre down river and Fornoli, where the railway station is, sits another kilometre further down the Lima river.

The total population is around 7,000 and is spread around the villages of Benabbio, Casabasciana, Granaiola and Lugliano among others. It has been called Bagni di Lucca since 1862. In 1101 the Countess Matilda of Tuscany had the Devil’s Bridge built so that she could access the health giving springs.

Since Lucca unified the area in 1308 and tranformed it into a spa oasis, it has been visited by people from all over Europe to take the waters. It’s heyday was in the early 1800s, during Napoleon’s occupation when his sister Elisa Baciocchi spent her summers in Bagni di Lucca. A casino was built and it became a social hub for foreigners, particularly the English. Shelley, Bryon and the Barrett Brownings were among the visitors.

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The view from Debra’s balcony

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Looking across the Lima river at Ponte a Serraglio

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Ponte a Serraglio

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The casino, the first in Europe

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Villa Ada at La Villa

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The baths at La Villa

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The pretty marble sculpture in Villa Ada

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The old station building in Autumn

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The Lima river from Ponte a Serraglio

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The autumn mists on the river

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The walking bridge to Villa Fiori and the car park

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Early morning from the walking bridge.

For suggestions for places to stay in Bagni di Lucca, look on the Stay in Bagni di Lucca page.

For information about eating in Bagni di Lucca click here.

We love our little village and would like to share it with everyone. If you have any questions you think we may be able to help with, please send an email to – debrakolkka@gmail.com – and we will do our best to answer you.

Look on my other blog Bella Bagni di Lucca for more posts on our lovely village and surrounds.

Take a look at the new tourism site for the town. At the moment it is in Italian, but hopefully it will soon be in English as well. www.turismobagnidilucca.com 

Responses

  1. Thank you sharing these lovely photos. I would love to one day visit Italy and see it’s old charming villages and building. Connie
    http://7thandvine.wordpress.com/

    • I hope you visit our lovely village soon.

  2. Sono Australiano ma una grande parte della mia anima e’ italiana. Da quanto tempo sei li’?

    • I am going back to Italy in about a week and I will be there for 4 months. I will then be in Brisbane for the winter and head back to Italy for a couple of months in autumn. I usually spend about 6 months a year in each place – perfect really.

      • Che vita bella. Sono molto geloso!

      • We love our little village of Ponte a Serraglio.

      • Debra – please email me

        d.baker.designs@gmail.com

        I am applying for an internship at an art gallery in florence and currently live in Wisconsin USA. It has always been my dream to travel to Italy, but not just for 2 weeks. I want to experience much more. Am I going to be able to survive the culture shock!

        Dawn

  3. I’ll be happy here forever. You can adopt me and take me in or point me to the nearest real estate agent….breathtaking…and now one of my destinations this summer. Thank you, I realized my level of stress just went down 50% and my desire rose double that. Would this be a good place to base my daughter and I for the summer? I want to show her Rome, Florence, Venice, Sorrento/Pompeii and I want to “live” somewhere that perhaps will become my permanent home.

    • Our little village of Bagni di Lucca is very central to lots of things. I can be in Rome in about 4 hours using public transport and the same for Venice. Lucca, one of the loveliest towns in Italy is 40 minutes away on the bus and Florence 1 hour further on. It would be an excellent place to be for the summer.

  4. Dear debra

    I am bringing a group of friends from Australia for my 50th in may to Lucca. I am really interested in visiting the gargafagna and bagni di kucca. Any suggestions for a day tour with lunch ( tasting local specialities) or othe small towns within a couple of hours that are your favourite, We have cars , Love to walk ( not too many hills), eat drink talk and absorb .

    • If you come to Bagni di Lucca eat at Del Sonno. There is at least one post on it. Barga is another good option. Look at Heather Jarman’s website Sapori e Saperi for tours in the area. When I get back from Sardegna I will email you with some suggestions. Eat at Paris Boheme in Lucca and say hello to Luis and David.

  5. I’m so happy to have stumbled upon your blog. I’m staying in Benabbio in July for a week (12 of us). I would love to ask you some specific questions
    about touring the area. We’re all so excited!!

  6. beautiful village. which part of italy is this?

    • Bagni di Lucca is in northern Tuscany, between Florence and Pisa.

      • thanks. one day i’ll be there

  7. Such beautiful photos, Debra. I was pointed to your blog by Nia and Rommel after I did a post on my visit to the gorgeous town of Lucca. :)

    • And I went to yours as well….it’s great.

  8. Dear Debra
    I’m coming to Bagni di Lucca next month, booked to stay at Park Hotel Regina, on a whim with little info and, have been delighted by the insight on your blog!
    I’m travelling alone and arrive on a Sunday at Pisa airport. Do you now if the buses run on a Sunday? I presume I have to change buses in Lucca too. Any information would be most appreciated.
    Thanks for the inspiring blog
    Jo

    • I have emailed some bus details, I hope it helps. Check out Bella Bagni di Lucca and say hello to Roberto at the Regina.

  9. We just returned from a week in Bagni di Lucca staying at a lovely rental, Villa La Chiusa. It was wonderful and I would love to return.

    I highly recommend a little local family restaurant named “La Lanternina”. It’s not fancy nor does it have a diverse menu but the proprietor, Francesca, will make you feel like long lost family and her ravioli is to die for! It’s also open when many others are closed – try it! Unfortunately I forgot the street it is on but I was referred to it late at night by the local Carabinieri.

    For a more upscale restaurant “Ristorante Circolo dei Forestieri” was great for the food, service and the great outdoor veranda overlooking the river.

    • Thank you for the tips. Which village were you staying in? I don’t know La Lanternina, but I would like to find it. The Circolo is great, especially if the balcony is open. I think now it would be too cool out there in the evening.

      • It was only after reading your blog that I learned the fact that Bagni di Lucca was really a composite of several villages. So I do not know exactly which village we were in. I do know that driving up from Lucca we crossed over a bridge and we were on the same side of the river as Circolo but is was 5 minutes down the road from us. I think our villa was located a 1/4 mile or so from the local sports stadium which was also our landmark to to turn at to climb a steep hill with many tight switchbacks to get to a special restaurant on top of what seemed a small mountain. I’ll try and get a better location description for you.

    • Niles, we are considering renting Villa Chiusa next summer and would like to take a look at it on Google Earth. Would you happen to have the full address or, even better, the GE co-ordinates?

      The trouble is, I think that there may be two villas with the same name in Bagni di Lucca

      • The Villa Chiusa that Niles stayed in is in Fornoli I think. There is another place called Villa La Chiusa which appears to be near Lucca.
        Niles left this comment on my blog a while ago. I doubt that he would still be looking at comments, which is why I have answered this.

      • Thanks, Debra, I think you are probably right, it is La Chiusa that we are looking at. It looks nice, though and your comments on Bagni di Lucca are both interesting and helpful

        Kind regards

        Keith

      • I hope you have a great holiday in the area.Let me know if I can help with anything. Lucca is gorgeous…look in the category “Lucca” for some posts on the town.

      • Keith & Debra,

        I do occasionally read this site and I get email notices when someone comments on my discussion.

        Keith, I guess you are looking at a Villa La Chiusa which is quite a bit closer to Lucca.

        We very much enjoyed Villa Chiusa in Bagni di Lucca but it is a bit more driving (about 20-25 mins) to get to Lucca and the Florence-Pisa freeway if you plan to do a lot of day tours of the Tuscan countryside.

        On the plus side the local villages of Bagni di Lucca are very scenic and I suspect the rental rate is lower as it is more remote from Lucca – you can check out Villa Chiusa at:

        http://www.renttuscany.com/property_list.aspx?sid=42a9ea3d2179443eb861baea6cf711a7&reset_search=S&guid_regione=16d58d36-0837-dd11-80cd-005056b504ec

        Feel free to ask me any questions about our experience. I can also put you in touch with the local property manager, Gina, if you are interested.

      • Hi Niles,
        Great to hear from you. I know Gina, who manages the property, and I am hoping to meet up with her when I get back to BdL.
        Thank you for adding more info. Perhaps we will see you in BdL again one day.

      • Debra,

        I would love to re-visit BdL again but before we do that my next big trip will be to Australia and New Zealand. Since you hail from that area, any tips for the unenlightened?

        Niles

      • Australia is huge! You should come for at least a month and select a few places you really want to see, because the distances between areas of interest can be enormous. I don’t think you should miss Uluru and the outback…it is truly spectacular. The Barrier Reef is incredible. We have some of the best beaches in the world. Our main cities are great places to visit, but our outback is what makes us unique. One of the best things we have ever done is a cruise from Darwin to Broome, across the Kimberley. I have never seen more spectacular landscape. I did a few posts on it a while ago, but my old camera did not do the place justice…a good excuse to go back. The category on Australia has several posts about my place of birth.
        If I can help with anything specific let me know.

      • Debra,
        Thanks for the tips – when we get serious I’ll get back in touch.
        Niles

  10. OK, after some painstaking landmark recognition research on Google Earth I think we were in the town of Fornoli. Coming N. on SS12 we turned left over the river on a non-descript bridge SS445 and then turned right where it met SP18. Our villa was 1/10 km above that intersection (as the crow flys) but 1.5 km in the car.

    The restaurant, actually identified as Pizzeria La Lanternina, is located on a short street “X” (unnamed on Google) between Strada Provinciale (SP18) and Via Alcide De Gaspe. Go East on SP18 about 0.4 km from the SS445/SP18 intersection and turn right onto street “X”. Its halfway down the block on the left (east) side.

    GPS coord’s are 44 deg 00’20.67″N & 10 deg 33’37.30″E. The GPS database may actually have the restaurant in it.

    If you get there say Hi! to Francesca from her 8 fans from California, Virginia & Cyprus who were staying at Villa La Chiusa (Sept 8 – 15).

    Ciao!

    • Fornoli is where the railway station is for Bagni di Lucca. My apartment is in Ponte a Serraglio, which you would have driven through to get to Circolo dei Forestieri in La Villa, the commercial centre of Bagni. I will certainly look for La Lanternina and say hello to Francesca. Not many people realise that Bagni di Lucca is actually a collection of villages. It is the largest comune in Italy with more than 200 kilometres of roads. I am still exploring after having been coming here for nearly 10 years.

      • For the one week we were there we used the villa as a base to explore a number of well known towns in Tuscany but I feel a bit of remorse for not having explored the local area more extensively. We hope to return some day – just the two of us – and immerse ourselves in the local culture and environment.

      • That sounds like a great idea. I must admit that we discovered Siena, Volterra, San Gimignano etc before we looked in our own backyard. Now I love poking through the mountain villages around us.

  11. I could’nt help but notice the post exchange with Niles. I think a lot of us arrive in Bagni and use it as a base to travel to Florence Pisa Lucca Siena Volterra San Gimignano et al. Whats amazing though is that there is so much around Bagni (a bit closer to hand) like all the villages around San Cassiano Di Controne, plus Fornoli, Vico Pancellorum, all the villages on the other side of the valley from Bagni, then there’s Barga, Castelnuovo etc.
    All of those villages have fascinating little communities. Although the way of life has changed for the people of the villages its still possible to see how they developed and the part they’ve played in Italian history.

    • I have been making a determined effort to get to all the villages of Bagni di Lucca to take photos for the blog. I have enjoyed every village….each one has something different to offer.

      • You’re doing a great job of visiting and promoting the villages.
        Someone needs to organise some walks from village to village in the valley. Say Guzzano to Gombereto and Longoio, and then a separate walk from Vetteglia to San Cassiano and Pallegio. The distance would’nt be too great, bearing in mind that most of the walks would be in the summer. You could then have a walk for the more energetic from say Monte de Villa to Montefegatesi.
        It strikes me that there are a lot of tourists around in July/August with little time to find out where to go other than to Lucca and Florence, and you don’t see too many of them
        in the villages above BDL spending money.

      • You are absolutely right! There are walking tracks all over Bagni di Lucca, but they are badly (or not) signed. A few signs and some arrows along the way would be great…as well as some information about the tracks. I am asked about this all the time.

  12. I love your area of the world. I was able to spend a few weeks between Lucca and Barga a couple summers ago and it was HEAVEN. Thanks for a lovely window into Tuscany for the rest of us!

  13. Beautiful photos. Love the view from your balcony – I would sit in that chair all day!

    • I love to be on my balcony…and I will be in about 2 weeks. It will be very cold there for the next couple of months, but spring will arrive eventually and I can plant my flowers.

      • Do you live in Italy for most of the year? And where are you the rest of the time?

      • I am Australian and I divide my time between Brisbane and Bagni di Lucca, with around 6 months in each place. I am leaving for Italy on Wednesday and I will be there until the end of May. I will be travelling via Hong Kong and Helsinki and I am planning a side trip to New York to visit my son at the end of February. It should be a fun trip.

      • That sounds absolutely perfect! Lucky you. Do you have family ties to the village?

      • No, we have made friends there, but we knew nobody when we arrived 10 years ago. It has been a wonderful experience, and I can’t wait to get back there.

      • So you just chose a village? Love it.
        We have friends who live near Modena so perhaps we drove past your village?

      • If you drove from Lucca to Modena, then it is very likely that you drove past our house. It is on the road between those 2 towns in Ponte a Serraglio, one of the villages of Bagni di Lucca.

      • Mr F thinks we drove that road.
        What do you do when you’re there? are you an artist?

  14. These are super beautiful pictures. I have visited Lucca when we went to Pisa – had to go there since my son’s name is Luca! I love Tuscany – wish I was there right now.

    • Me too! I love the time I spend in Bagni di Lucca and I visit Lucca at least twice a week when I am there.

  15. Wow. I just found your website while googling for “bus bagni di lucca to florence” :-) It’s a very nice website with beautiful pictures. We’ll be staying in Boveglio (somewhere near the Bagni di Lucca area) for a week from Saturday 24th. So, I thought I might be allowed to ask you a question? We need to be in Florence on the 27th (center of town) at 9:00 a.m. for a guided tour. Could you maybe tell me the best way to travel there early in the morning? That would be great!!!!

    • I have sent you an email with some details. Look at Vai bus for bus information and Trenitalia for trains.

  16. Your blog is definitely amazing, well done! I also learn something more about Italy by reading your posts ;)

  17. We have been to the outdoor thermal baths in Saturnia, & loved them. We’ll be staying in Lucca soon – are there natural baths like that near Bagni? All I’ve seen so far on line are indoor pools. Thanks so much!

    • I love the baths in Saturnia. Unfortunately there is nothing like that in Bagni di Lucca. You can use the deep marble baths, but they are all indoors.

      • Debra – that’s what I thought. Thanks anyway for your response. Doesn’t matter, we’re having a terrific time! Mary Galeani


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