Posted by: lizlitzow | June 16, 2011

A Village Stay – the perfect holiday?

The great cities and towns of Italy are high on most people’s list when a trip to Italy is planned. These places are popular because they are wonderful, full of museums, galleries, historical buildings and lots of things to see and do. The countryside with farm houses, villas and maybe even a castle or two is also part of the plan.

The Fallen Patriot in a tiny square in Ponte a Serraglio

Staying in cities in a centrally located hotel is a great idea, but to experience something even more Italian, the answer could be a village stay. If you wish you can be part of the village life and get to know some locals. Our little part of Bagni di Lucca is called Ponte a Serraglio and we think it makes for a perfect village stay. There is lots to see and do, or you can just sit on a balcony and watch the village in action. Click here to see Marco solving traffic problems.

Deb's pretty balcony

 Friends who have stayed in our apartments have loved to relax and keep an eye on procedings.

View from Liz's balcony

There is usually a beautiful old church to see. 


Il campanile - bell tower of our church

 The church in our village is not particularly old, but it is quite pretty and well cared for.

a pretty wall near the church

angels on the front of the church

The focus of the village will be the bar. Ponte a Serraglio has 2 bars, Bar Italia and Il Monaco. One of these will be open from early morning until late at night.

Bar Italia

This is where everyone congregates to sip a coffee, lick a gelato and read the local paper. Every newcomer should sit at the bar and soak up the aptosphere.

Enjoying an Aperol before dinner

It is like an opera stage with players entering and taking their exits with an exchange of pleasantries. This show is yours for the price of a coffee to sit and enjoy. You can watch the barista making dozens of coffees so very fast, while chatting to all who come into the bar. You can practice your Italian, and pretend you are Italian for a while. The flow of people changes with the seasons. In winter it is just the locals, with the odd tourist who wanders in. In summer the tables are put outside in the sun and the piazza fills with people.

Il Monaco for morning coffee and afternoon gelati

Everything will open and close on an apparent whim. The church mentioned in your guidebook may be open without a soul in sight, the next day it could be closed!!!

There are 8,101 communes in Italy.  Some are huge like Rome or Naples and others are sleepy mountain towns. Some of these are getting smaller as the young move to larger cities in search of work. Tourists and expats help to keep them alive.

Who can resist a view like this?

A lovely balcony

The Bar Italia and Il Monaco provide the stage for you to play on ( and have great coffee too) I liken it to an opera, you just sit yourself down at the bar, and every village however small has one, and watch the various players come onto the stage, play their part and then leave, just in time for the next one. It is the ultimate in people watching,  e.g. the beautiful boy in the Giacosa.

When plannning your next Italian holiday, try to fit in a village stay, however small – it will be a holiday with a difference and the memories will be wonderful, and don’t forget to take time to smell the roses.

Lots of roses to be smelled ...


  1. ” Some of these are getting smaller as the young move to larger cities in search of work. Tourists and expats help to keep them alive.”

    i observed this also when I was in Germany while visiting the small lovely towns. The young ones can be rarely met!

    • Yes I know what you mean, but hopefully the tourist who has already been and seen the big cities will want something different and will venture into the villages and see their charm and really experience the country they are visiting. We in our little beautiful village certainly hope so. Glad you liked our story.

  2. We are back in Ponte, got here two weeks ago, we have missed it so much. It really isbeautiful. We are off to Prato Fiorito for a great walk in the mountains with a picnic lunch from the bar! A great life.

    • Hey Shona – sorry I missed you when I had a flying visit to Italy and Bagni in particular, but caught up with Jake and Jacqueline and had a relaxing time there. Yes it is really beautiful and glad you enjoyed my little story. Love Liz

  3. Great photos Liz … And I think it’s even prettier in reality! I can definitely recommend a stay in Bagni di Lucca.

    • Glad you liked the photos – had a practice run with my new camera

  4. I agree with Debra, Bagni di Lucca is a delightful place to get to know the real Italy. It is only a short distance away from Lucca (25 minutes), Pisa and Florence, not to mention the Versilia Coast, the Cinque Terre and you can always go on day trips to places such as Modena, Parma, Bologna, Lake Trasimeno and many others.
    Bagni di Lucca is also full of history and beautiful buildings. The main parish, San Pietro in Corsena is a fine example of the Romanic style. Bagni di Lucca was already known by Etruscans and Romans for the healing properties of its waters. It was Elisa Bonaparte, Napoleon’s sister and Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Duchess of Lucca who changed its original name of Bagni di Corsena to Bagni di Lucca.
    Well Debra, we are starting to sound like the Tourist Information Office. I think that it is because we love so much the area that it shows…..

    • Hi Maria, Liz wrote this one, but yes, we do sound like tourist information officers. I would happily talk about Bagni di Lucca forever.

      • Sorry Liz, then the three of us are sounding like tourist information officers. But Debra is right, we could be talking about Bagni for ever….

  5. How does one find out about rentals in Bagni?

    • We can help with that, just let us know what you are looking for. I will email you with some information. If you look at the Stay in Bagni di Lucca page there are a few options there.

  6. beautiful photos, as always

  7. Lovely post, Liz! I don’t know how you and Deb ever manage to leave! 🙂

    • It is difficult, but I guess we know we’ll be back. It is a truly magical place. Glad you liked it.

  8. What a BEAUTIFUL…and compelling, post!! So nicely done; sold! I’m going to introduce this delicious space to a dear friend who’s convalescing; I’m convinced it will cheer her and help with the healing. Grazie tanto!

  9. Really looking forward to seeing it, Liz.

  10. Ahh….Bagni di Lucca and Ponte a Serraglio both have a beautiful lilt to their names and befits the romantic scenes of the village in the mountains. Thank you, Liz, for refreshing my memories again. How come I missed seeing The Fallen Patriot? I must have been busy admiring the mountains and the houses nestled higgedly piggedly along the River Lima that I may have overlooked some important landmarks like this statue. Never mind, I’ll make sure I’ll look for it next time 🙂 I love the angels and the pretty wall.

  11. I would happily stay in a small village over a big city any day. Especially one as beautiful as Bagni di Lucca.

    • Yes we agree

      Sent from my iPhone

  12. I am with you there, a small village is the way to go to experience the local life style.
    Our stay in Ponte a Seraglio 3 years ago was one of my most favourite holidays ever.

    Now we are looking forward to our stay in September and share the experience with friends.

    Last visit we met a lovely English couple who were holidaying there and have kept in touch. They are coming at the same time as us in September so that we can meet up again.

    • That’s great that you are meeting up with the same people. It is always the people you meet who make a holiday memorable.

  13. […] more: A Village Stay – the perfect holiday? « Bagni di Lucca and Beyond Questo articolo è stato pubblicato in Hotel, Hotel Lucca e ha le etichette answer, […]

  14. We are getting soooo excited about our visit to Bagni di Lucca – we’ll be there in early October (a group of 8 from Bargara, Qld).

    • I’m sure you will love our little village. It has so much to offer.

  15. I am sorry but I honestly don’t get what is so great about Bagni Di Lucca.
    There is NOTHING to do in the “square” except have a drink in an unfriendly bar (with the dirtiest bathroom facilities!!!!ever). All the shops seem closed down and boarded up. Good luck if you are travelling with children! There is nothing to do. The bus service between Bagni di Lucca and Lucca is few and far between and if you do take the train you need to walk 30 minutes to the station. Maybe 200 years ago it was a nice place to holiday but not now.
    Holidayers…….you have been warned!!!

    • What a pity you have that opinion. You clearly didn’t look very far. There are regular buses in the morning to Lucca. There are lots of villages in the area to visit. If you are interested in walking there are beautiful walks through chestnut forests.
      I agree it might not be the place to come if you have young children, but there is a lovely park and a playground in La Villa. In summer there is a pool with magnificent views over the mountains.
      We have several restaurants within walking distance. There are local festivals which can be fun to see.
      If you speak a little Italian and make e en the smallest effort, the locals at the bar are friendly.
      Friends of mine have been coming here for the 9 years I have owned the apartment and not one person has felt as you do. Several have returned 2 and 3 times…..a long way to come from Australia to a place with nothing to offer.

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