A Walk in the Snow in Bagni di Lucca

Scrinch scrunching in the snow.  The world silent and soft, surrounded in a white haze, gentle flakes caressing your face and freezing your hair.  That day of snow falling endlessly was so beautiful.  We walked up to Bagni Caldi delighting in the mysterious panoramas surrounding us, and down to Ponte a Serraglio, more beautiful than ever.

Ponte a Serraglio on the Lima River
Ponte a Serraglio on the Lima River
Shona and Mike outside Casino
Shona and Mike outside Casino
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Looking towards the hotel Corona
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The passerella over the Lima River
Passerella
Passerella to Villa Fiori
Villa Fiori Garden
Villa Fiori Garden

P1070219Villa Fiori Garden

Tower in Villa Fiori Garden
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A view looking down from Bagni Caldi
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Looking down from Bagni Caldi
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Looking down toward the Demidoff chapel
Top of Bagni Caldi
Top of Bagni Caldi
wood pile
wood pile

P1070238On the road down from Bagni Caldi

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Old restored baths, Bagni Caldi

The power lines came down that day as well.  Two big pines broke in half and onto the lines on the hill above Ponte a Serraglio.  The area was several hours without electricity.  You forget how vulnerable you can be.  No one can go anywhere, there’s a blizzard out there, and your house depends on electricity.  We have gas for our heating and we were surprised that it was also hooked up to the power.  So no heat.  We kept thinking as we put on another layer of clothing, how much more independent we are up in Pieve, where if the power goes off, you still have the wood fires and candles, water straight from the mountain into the village well….

Ponte a Serraglio from the Benarbo Baths
Ponte a Serraglio from the Benarbo Baths
Ponte a Serraglio
Ponte a Serraglio

Today it is a bright bright world.  A bright blue sunny sky is shimmering on the white snow, slowly melting and turning to ice.  All the terraces climbing the hills are delineated, white and black and you see how it must have all been, all gardened for food.  Today it is overgrown with acacia that the farmers now harvest to sell wood.  It used to be gardens and chestnut trees and the local people subsisted very well until the trees were diseased and the war made people desperate to leave and seek a greater fortune.  Factories making little statuettes and paper factories are the income that’s left and both of these are struggling as they compete with China to produce their products the cheapest.  It keeps the wages low and the people poor.

ruin on the river
ruin on the river

In the meantime, a beautiful place is cocooned and protected from ugly development as most people work in the cities or where there is industry.  Never is it more obvious than today in its shroud of white waiting for the spring to return it to its former glory.

days of former glory
days of former glory

10 Comments

  1. Has been a while since I’ve been there in the snow. Have mixed feelings about it, especially with things like power lines going down. The beauty, however, is always there. Love the photos, especially the one of you and Michael in front of the casino’. Stay safe and warm; Spring is around the corner.

    1. Karen,
      We met at Pina’s quite a number of years ago. I still treasure the beautiful drawing you did of our house and I remember how much we enjoyed your company. Would be so nice to do it again one day.
      Spoke with Pina yesterday but next time I will have to let her know how I “ran” into you here.
      Diane

      1. Yes, Diane, we do remember you well. It was my daughter, Ingrid, who drew for you. She now has her own art studio, and has recently been granted an artist’s grant to produce 15 new works. She also works full time.
        You were so kind to translate for us, and to show us around your father’s lovely home in Pieve. Then we saw you again in Lucca when we were at the lavanderia. Also, we remember what a good friend you are to Pina.
        Somewhere, we have a nice photo of you with a bouquet of flowers in your father’s dining room. When it is “found,” we will send it.
        Might you be in Italy in September 2013?
        Thanks to Michael and Shona for helping us reconnect.
        Karen

      2. Karen,
        I’ll have to dig up pictures of our time together also. The years have a way of rolling into each other. So happy to hear how well Ingrid is doing. We will definitely be in Pieve at some point this summer but no plans made yet. It would be lovely to meet up there.
        Michael and Shona are a very special part of what is sure to be an artistic revitalization of the Bagni di Lucca area. It is a true pleasure to know them.

  2. Perfect. I can imagine the snow-muted silence. The economic difficulties seem almost irrelevant. I know they’re not; I know they can make people unhappy and trapped and families can fall apart. Yet poverty can protect beautiful places, from development and the spoiling of them. Winter make places like this so peaceful. The trees are divine. Lovely photos.

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