Posted by: debrakolkka | June 20, 2011

What’s happening with the casino?

Does anyone know what is happening with the casino at Ponte a Serraglio?  It has been beautifully renovated and opened briefly as a casino. Now it is closed and nobody can see this beautiful building with all its history. Before the casino reopened, it was used as an information centre and Leda used to give wonderful guided tours of the interior, now it is unused. What a pity.

the casino in Bagni di Lucca

the crest at the top

closed - what a waste

Click here to see more on the casino at Ponte a Serraglio.


Responses

  1. I heard that the company that took the lease on the premises was not making any money as costs were high. Council offered to reduce the lease, but they were not interested. It looks as if Council was negotiating with another company… Who knows? Although reopening the casino was a great idea, I do not think that the concept introduced – a modern casino with poker machines – was the way to go. Perhaps people would expect that the first casino in Europe would be more traditional. After all, you find poker machines at any bar. I hope that they will be able to find a viable solution.

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    • I hope so too. I agree that the poker machines were not the answer.

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  2. Oh dear! What a shame! I remember the lovely Leda giving us a guided tour and we enjoyed it very much. We were most fortunate to have that opportunity. I think it’s shameful that the last owner was after bucks instead of authenticity. I abhor the thought of poker machines! Perhaps, the council could use more publicity re a historical tour i.e. the casino being the first of its kind in Europe, and re-appoint Leda as the tour guide? The baths nearby will add to the attraction. Some of the rooms could be used for a charity event, perhaps a ball or a musical evening? Those beautiful rooms need to be used and admired. On the other hand, how will the delightful people living in Bagni di Lucca feel about tourists passing through?

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    • I think tourists would be most welcome. The building should be used.

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  3. I think it’s a blessing that the property isn’t to be a gambling casino (poker machines!!!) With such an elegant building it should–no must–be turned into a center of higher learning… A music academy???

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    • It would make a wonderful music venue. The old band area is still there, where the musicians would be for a ball.

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  4. If it’s not a casino then the information centre is what it should be again..
    What a shame if the doors are closed and nobody can admire the beautiful restoration work. Leda had the passion and the knowledge of the history, bring her back…………….

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    • If only we could. She is now up at La Villa in the new information office, which is not nearly as good.

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  5. What a shame! It’s a beautiful building, at least from the outside!

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    • The inside is even better. I was there when the restoration was taking place. Every effort was made to bring it as close to original as possible. It used to be available for parties and events. I went to Paolo’s wedding there, and a couple of carnevale evenings.

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  6. It broke my heart to see the renovated building with the doors closed. Leda did a great job there and it was a wonderful spot to get local information and also use the computers if you needed to get information whilst on holiday. Perhaps the locals need to pull together a bit more and DEMAND that the doors re-open. By putting a post on your blog and getting responses might also awaken the dead and get things moving again. Thanks Deb for trying to do so much for this wonderful place, Bagni di Lucca.

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    • It is such a pity to see it all closed up.

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  7. Further to my previous post, I think that the people from Bagni di Lucca wanted the Casino to reopen, but in a different way. As I said before, the Bagni di Lucca Casino was the first to open its doors in Europe and, according to tradition, it was the place where the game of “roulette” was invented.
    For many years, Bagni di Lucca has been trying to reopen its doors and in 1981 the then Mayor and quite a few people were arrested and charged when they tried to “restart” it without a proper licence.
    The Comune di Bagni di Lucca has several historical buildings which belong to the town, such as the Casino, Villa Fiore, the Chiesa Anglicana (it is the library nowadays), the Circolo dei Forestieri (they have just restored the upper part and they have exhibitions there… go and visit the place, it is ideal for receptions) and quite a few more. The problem is that the Comune lacks resources. With the new law that says that you do not pay Council Tax (or ICI) on “prima casa” or first house you own in Italy (unless it is a luxury villa or a palace), Council has lost an important source of revenue. I do not understand why the government did this. I would have made that benefit available only to low income earners, pensioners or people in need. The amount we pay in taxes is very low and it helps the Comune financially. We gladly pay it. On the other hand, lack of funds prevents council from maintaining historical buildings. I do hope that someone will find how to save the Casino and make it profitable.

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    • I think it was a silly vote buying excercise on the part of Berlusconi to abolish council rates. It is an idiotic idea. We pay, as we are not residents, and we are happy to do so, otherwise how is the village expected to get things done. I hope something good happens at the casino.

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  8. As a regular visitor to Bagni di Lucca I was sorry to see that the casino had closed its doors but I agree it should have been restored and marketed as a traditional casino and slot machines were not appropriate. The information centre should be back there and it would make a lovely venue for music events. How about music lessons or art classes? Perhaps show films in the winter months? Such a beautiful building should be open and available to all and more widely publicised.

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    • The casino has opened again, this time with a restaurant. Hopefully it will be better this time.

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  9. Leda’s guided visits to the Casino and her generous helpfulness I will very much miss – together with those wonderful New Year nights that used to be held there before the slot machines moved in (and, thankfully, left)

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