Posted by: debrakolkka | February 4, 2011

Coming home to Ponte a Serraglio

I love coming home to our apartment in the village after a long trip. I love all the familiar things – the fabulous view from my balcony of the river and the piazza.

the river on a clear winter day

looking up to Colle - and blue sky

I look for the things I love in the apartment – the wall I painted, the curtains I embroidered in my first cold winter here – all the things collected in the 7 years we have been coming here.

the bedroom wall

my linen curtains

gifts from a friend

in the living room

in the bedroom

I love cherubs

There is something missing in Ponte a Serraglio – Paolo. He was my first contact with the village in 2003.  He was so good to me on that first visit to hurry along the purchase of the apartment. He has always been one of the reasons we love the place so much. His lovely smile and his friendly greeting have always been something to look forward to, and now he is not here.

His marriage break up has affected everyone. Annalisa is still running the 2 businesses, Bar Italia and Il Monaco and she is doing an excellent job, but without the force of Paolo’s personality it is not the same. I want him back.  I selfishly want him to come back to his pretty wife, his 2 little girls, his business, the village and to me. Ponte a Serraglio will not be the same without him.

a scorching 15 degrees

the promise of spring

Click here to see why I am so sorry that Paolo is not here.


  1. Lovely post Deb,sad news though….

    • It is very sad. Everyone loves Paolo. The whole place is depressed. I’m hoping to catch up with him soon.

  2. Paolo…. 🙁 deep sigh…. 🙁

  3. Hello –
    I love reading your enthusiastic blog on all things BrisVegas (as I reside in high and dry Albany Creek with hubby and 3 rapidly growing sons) – however, I thoroughly adore hearing about all of the little bits and pieces that you pull together to give an idea of your home away from home! And as always, these pictures give me goosebumps. (I am there with you – even if, only in spirit!)
    It just goes to show however, that it is not just the places that take our hearts in life, but the people that get on and off ‘the bus’ of our life, too.

    • It is mostly the people. If you look in the Ponte People category you can see some of our friends here.

  4. Hi Debra,

    So nice to see you are back! I will soon meet you, hopefully!
    A warm hug!

  5. ben tornata

  6. Welcome back to our “DEBORA”!!!
    We are all very contenti to have you here with us again!

  7. Hi Deb
    Pleased to hear you have arrived safe and sound.
    Thinking of you in that lovely place!
    And hoping you find new friends to replace some old ones.
    ps my new drink is campari and we bought an Italian coffee machine for our new-found macchiati! They are just not the same here. Say hello to Marco.

  8. How lovely to hear you’ve arrived safely Deb & thanks for sharing your world, I just read about Paolo, so sad the marriage is in such trouble, I can see why your missing his presence.

  9. You have a lovely home there! It’s so sad when things like this happen.

  10. Welcome back to the Northern Hemisphere Deb. Sad about Paolo but life goes on. Baghi Di Lucca will enjoy having you back There will people that come and go but Bagni Di Lucca is a special place and your photos of the details in your abode bring back lovely memories. Enjoy your stay!

  11. It’s amazing how the houses are standing at the bottom of the mountain, gracefully… so beautiful… next to the river too…

  12. Welcome back to your gorgeous other home. I love all your touches. I am sorry to hear about your friend leaving the town.

  13. Deb nice to see you are back in Italy! I’m in Milan at the moment just arrived today! Sad to see Paolo isn’t around but hope things are still wonderful none the less is beautiful Bagni Di Lucca

    • Hi Amber, Are you going to come to Bagni?

  14. That is sad, particularly as they’d only been married for such a short time…

    Your apartment and all your personal touches are beautiful, Deb, thanks for sharing them with us!

    • It is very sad about Paolo, especially as there are 2 little girls involved.

  15. That is sad about your friends marriage. He sounds like a lovely man…

    • Paolo is a delightful man and has been a good friend. He will be missed.

  16. I have an unforgettable story about Paolo that I’d like to share.

    I spied some interesting food that I thought looked like chicken in a tiny deli in Lucca. It looked so appealing. The attractive boy behind the counter spoke Italian but I couldn’t understand him. I bought the stuff anyway. When I returned to Bagni di Lucca, I asked Paolo what the “thing” was. He laughed so hard and, wiping his eyes, he said it was ‘lard’. He must have seen the look of horror on my face because he loudly told everyone in the bar what I had bought, despite my desperate attempts to hush him up. He explained that this lard was an Italian speciality cured specially in caves (what I think he said) and can be spread thinly on toast for breakfast. We tried it out and decided this lard is an acquired taste. Come to think of it – it DOES look like chicken!

    Paolo was very kind to us while we stayed at Bagni. It’s hard to believe he is not there. We will miss him. So sad for his beautiful wife and children.

    • Lardo is pig fat which has been stored in marble tubs in the marble caves above Carrara. It can be very delicious on toasted bread. A little goes a long way.

  17. Oh, Deb, that is so sad. And your post is beautiful, almost an elegy. I can’t imagine the stresses Paolo and Annalise would have endured – pastries necessitating the 3am start, gelato to be made everyday and the bar in the evenings, not to mention two extra tiny beings to consider. Lets hope spring fulfills its promise. The terracotta handle on the pot almost looks like entwined fingers.

  18. I hope it doesn’t take the shine off the lovely place that you describe so well. Buona Fortuna…

  19. Hi Deb,

    I like your weather vane. When you get a spare moment will you post a photo of your weather vane? I think it is a duck.

    Cheers Judy

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